Volunteering is truly a privilege. Whether it is mentoring sweet Emily, the first grade bundle of sparkly joy I meet with weekly to help with reading, or in and through the lives of those men and women actively dying in hospice, my understanding of life is growing.
Emily is filled with wonder, energy, promise, innocence and a future filled with possibility. She is always smiling, perpetually enthusiastic about most things we take for granted. Her young mind is on overdrive with experiencing new things, learning how to be a good friend and sometimes frustrated with the limitations imposed upon her by adults. She is learning in school how to be successful in groups and learning independently. She is respectful, compliant with most things and fun. Every week when I leave her, I am a better person. She helps me maintain my “wonder”. I help her with spelling words and sight words. I definitely get the better end of the deal.
Hospice is a marvelous sacred space where a patient is living through the dying process alone, with others around. The family and friends are wrestling with letting go of a loved one. Often sharing his or her own loving memories of the patient. Often privately struggling with regrets associated with the patient. The patient is processing through the reality of dying and the pain of those around them. At the end of life, things become much more simple. Regrets are energy burners as never before. There is little time left to regret so learning to savor moments with loved ones is essential. Fewer words and more “being”. There isn’t much to talk about when you are dying. You need space to process through unfinished business with others perhaps, and you then process through letting go of this life and transitioning to what is beyond. I bring them a diversion, aka Shiloh the Collie, and do my best to just be present, validate them where they are and leave a little dog hair behind. They help me remember the fragility of life and the strength of love. I definitely get the better end of the deal here as well.
May you find wonder within your fragile life today and the strength of Love that surrounds us all.