Wednesday, June 22, 2011
People have asked me this week whether or not it is hard to work in a place where death is an expectation rather than an occasional, terrible surprise. They are surprised to hear that it is not. The Hospice where I work is not primarily a place of sadness, it is sometimes a place of happy memories and celebration. It is often a place of profound peace. In most ways, my new job is like other jobs, a combination of tedium and amazement, although, come to think of it, I don't remember a lot of amazement in my former job. I only work 20 hours a week, but I often feel like I am working all the time. I still spend a lot of time awkwardly standing around wondering how to offer comfort, how much to intrude, how much to hold back. But every so often, it all clicks, and those moments are indescribable. In the Real World, people are pulled by a million distractions, they are tightly wrapped in their protective veils. In my work, sometimes those veils are dropped as useless, and the goodness and vulnerability of people is open to view.