Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Holy Ground


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.   

5 comments:

Debbie V. said...

You are so right. There is something about death that celebrates life. As much as I hated losing my first baby in a late miscarriage, it only increased my thankfulness for my premie who survived 4 years later. (Who is now 26 years old and just graduated from college last year)

shawkl said...

We lost my Dad to lung cancer, it came on fast and furious. Hospice was a great comfort to my mother. And, just a simple conversation about her china pattern gave her mind a much needed rest.
Kathy
www.shawkl.com

gpc said...

Debbie, I can't even imagine that level of pain. I am so sorry.

Kathy, that's exactly where the awkward standing around comes from, trying to find that ordinary subject that will let people think of something that doesn't matter so much. It's wonderful that you could do that for your mom.

Janet Bocciardi said...

I've been neglectful at catching up with my friends and was happy your comment prompted me to read your blog! I'm so happy you've found a job, but more importantly a job that is fitting what I suspect is a very natural purpose for you. Your kindness and soulfulness has to be wonderful for this time in these people's lives.

Good to hear about your fishing trip with your brother, too. I miss having my brother on fishing trips, but he is a newlywed at 42 and we're not sure when he's come back to us. : )

Snowbird said...

As you know, my brother just recently passed away. The family had a wonderful celebration of his life. Whether it was at the funeral home, at a family get together, at the funeral or at the cemetery--there were tears of course but also lots of memories and lots of laughter. He would have loved it!!!