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Archive for August, 2011

Fireflies

Pleiades Star Cluster

Image via Wikipedia

There’s this blog that I read on occasion, and it’s usually about the city I love and things going on here inMilwaukee. A while back, the author, Molly Snyder, wrote about loss and how she dealt with her father’s death alongside her two sons. You can read her entire blog here: 

http://www.onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/authors/mollysnyder/isisblog.html 

This blog stuck with me, even though I read it way back when the snow was falling. Specifically this line: 

“So we ducked into grief’s dark corner and sat there, cross legged, for a while. I’m not sure for how long, but eventually, calming little fireflies blinked around our sad hearts and we all started sleeping through the night again.” 

As I sat out on my patio many nights this summer, and watched the fireflies blinking in the yard, I’ve thought about the ones who’ve influenced me most and who are gone. I think of who I am today, and wonder what they’d think about my world. I wonder if they can see me, and do watch over me. In those still moments, I like to think they are there, watching. It brings me some kind of comfort to know that they’d be proud, and would say that I was doing just fine. In those moments where one might feel lonesome, or abandoned, I like to be reminded that my connection to and my love for those people was real. 

Thank you, Molly, for reminding me to watch for those tiny flickering lights in the darkness.

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the last cell

Image by micmol  via Flickr

In the documentary Serving Life, one of the hospice volunteers remarked that he always heard hospice being described as a way for people to die with dignity, but he thought hospice was more of an expression of love.

Many of the volunteers and the lead hospice nurse in the documentary remarked that hospice will change you. And the documentary showed the tremendous change and growth in morality for these volunteers.

The documentary featured a hospice atLouisiana’s maximum security prison atAngola. Since 85% of the prison population have sentences of over 95 years, most of the inmates will die in prison. The Warden of Angola prison felt that a prison should do more than teach a prisoner skills, but should also teach them morality. In an effort to teach morality, he brought a hospice program to the prison, where other inmates serve as hospice volunteers. These men are trained to care for the patients—bathing, feeding, providing friendship & support, being there to sit vigil at end of life, and cleaning and preparing the body for burial.

Some of the volunteers make it and continue to volunteer, whereas others drop out of the program. The ones that stay remarked that they felt incomplete or like something was missing on the days when they did not go to the hospice. It made me think about how special our own hospice volunteers at Horizon are—the dedication and commitment they have to our patients and the remarkable abilities they all possess.

It made me reflect on the incredible impact being on the Hospice team has on every one of us—the staff and volunteers. It made me realize what my priorities are in life. I don’t put off things I want to do or things I need to say anymore. And it bought a new level of gratitude for everyday and every person in my life. Many people assume that Hospice must be depressing, but the Hospice experience is truly about connecting to one another and living life to the fullest.

For more information about Serving Life, go to http://www.oprah.com/own-doc-club/Serving-Life-Trailer.

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I’d like to take this opportunity to direct our readers to another great blog:

http://mysaintedeadhusband.blogspot.com/

Irene McGoldrick is a wonderful person, a widow and a wife, an author, mother, wine-lover, public speaker, and more. She has been a wonderful contributor to Horizon’s annual Life Lights event through her volunteer leadership, and has provided guest blogs right here at the Grief Resource Center blog. Her most recent blog really struck me and I thought that our readers could relate. Please take a moment to visit “My Sainted Dead Husband”.

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