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Paying Homage

I showed up for my afternoon shift at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House where my mother-in-law died more than 15 years ago. The walkway is made of bricks. Many of them contain names and life dates of people who had died at the hospice. Recent rains had caused dirt, leaves, and crushed granite to wash out of the shrubbery beds and onto the walkway.I decided to sweep the bricks as a prelude to visiting patients. It was a service to the dead, not to the living, grieving, and suffering people I would later visit.

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A Rookie Volunteer

My first patient, Mrs. A, was a delightful woman with such an easy presence about her. I approached my first visit feeling as prepared as I could be and just a bit fearful that I might not do or say the right thing. In our training, staff and long-time volunteers had shared with us that even they leave patients' homes thinking about what they did or said that they wish they hadn't. So I knew that I didn't have to be perfect. I just needed to BE - to be present for Mrs. A.

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There is a reason I got the opportunity to be part of Hospice Austin. Hospice kept coming up in my life.

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