Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hospice training: Day 1

Yesterday was day one of hospice training with Allina. It's been a long process to get to this point with paperwork, interviews, and tests. But something has called me to want to volunteer to do hospice work ... and the final nudge that got me going was my therapy dog Ahnung. After I complete this training we will be able to work in hospice as a pet partner team.

There were 25 of us in the all day training session yesterday. The session began with a welcome and time for reflection. The lights in the room were dimmed and relaxing music played in the background. We were asked to leave our worries at the door and to center ourselves and to be present. When the music ended, we were thanked ... thanked for being here, thanked for being willing to step outside of our comfort zone, and thanked for being willing to give ... the trainer opened with a quote:

"There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary way." 
- Mother Theresa

 Yesterday was an intense day. A hospice nurse spent two hours talking about what happens in the last 72 hours ... what to expect and the importance of leaving our own values, beliefs, judgments at the door. She shared ... "We die the way we live." Compassion. Patience. Presence. Peace. It's hard for me to even put into words what day one of hospice training was like ... I love how they honor and respect the wishes of the person who is dying. There were tears, lots of tears. There was also laughter. 

I am grateful to be going through hospice training. I am looking forward to day 2.

"The work of dying is theirs, not ours. Ours is to travel alongside, as companions on their journey."
- Penelope Wilcock 

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