I stepped away from wisdom

Posted May 18, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, blog, hospice, Levine & Dickson Hospice House, volunteering

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by Jim Young, LDHH-H volunteer

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Volunteer Jim Young

Maybe some of you remember me. But maybe this is the first time you have read anything from this site. The first blog I read from HPCCR brought tears to my eyes, and since then I have cried many times from the words that were written by so many wonderful people – words of honesty, love, and conviction.

Hospice moments are filled with raw and honest emotion. As someone who has stood in those moments countless times, being there can be both rewarding and frustrating. But to be honest, the most frustrating part of hospice for me was the frustration of stepping back – or in my case stepping away from – this wonderful organization.

I volunteered with HPCCR for six years, and in August of last year, my personal plate got rather full. I personally felt I could not commit one hundred percent to a patient assignment, so I stepped away. And in doing so, I stepped away from wisdom.

Wisdom has always inspired my thoughts and my actions, and it was wisdom that always led me to writing about my feelings about hospice. When I left HPCCR, the words left too. This is the first time I have been able to put words to paper, to express the feelings of my heart.

Lately I’ve been feeling that there can be light in death just as in death there can be life.

Allow me to explain. Life in death can mean acceptance to a hopeless outcome, clarity to confusion. Life in death is moving forward, carrying that loved one in your heart.

Light in death is when life simply transitions from a physical presence to a spiritual one. Light in death is finding the peace you are so desperately searching for, the beacon calling you to embrace the joy and the sadness of life meeting death.

I think that is why I’m being called back– to embrace the joy and sadness once again. It was God who led me to HPCCR in the first place, and it is God leading me back there now.

If that isn’t divine wisdom, then tell me what is.

Happy Nurses Week

Posted May 9, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: advocacy, awareness, hospice, special events

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

keep calm hug a nurseBet you didn’t know that we are smack dab in the middle of a whole week recognizing nurses in our country. It begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Very fitting, indeed, to end the week recognizing the founder of modern nursing.

I often use this “stage” to to declare how awesome our nurses are. And this week I’m going to do it again. Because their hearts are made of gold; pure sunshine runs through their veins. Their patience is legendary and their expertise extraordinary. They are selfless, tireless, and fearless.

Hospice nurses are veritable jacks of all trades. They are independent, they think on their feet, and their knowledge is amazingly comprehensive. And on top of that, they are kind, empathetic, and soothing. They are the total package.

Hospice nurses are often likened to angels, an appropriate comparison in my opinion.  They intervene when our patients and families are at their most vulnerable, right when they think they will drown in obligation and pain. Then nurses lift them up, cradle them in their arms, and restore their fragile faith in humanity.

So a heartfelt thank you to nurses everywhere. And to our HPCCR nurses, we want you to know that your dedication has helped make us who we are. You are so often the face of HPCCR.  And because of you, it’s shining bright.

Our Unsung Hero

Posted May 5, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, hospice, special events

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Unsung Hero_croppedWe are so very pleased to announce that our very own President & CEO, Pete Brunnick, received a prestigious award today. This morning at the Charlotte Convention Center, Pete accepted the Unsung Hero award, one of Leadership Charlotte’s Legacy Awards. Each year Leadership Charlotte recognizes organizations and individuals who create lasting change and measurable difference in our community. This year, Pete was one of those individuals honored and all of us at HPCCR couldn’t be more proud! He was chosen for “working tirelessly behind the scenes to improve the organization’s finances, leadership, and patient service offerings”. Well done, Pete! Congratulations!

 

April showers bring May fun

Posted May 2, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, fundraising, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, Lake Norman Hospice Regatta, special events

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

LN Hospice Regatta logo_2015You know that phrase, “April showers bring May flowers”? Well, we got our April showers in Charlotte on Saturday night, didn’t we? They snuck in at the 11th hour (literally), drenching us all with pounding rain along with some serious thunder and lightning.

For Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, those April showers are bringing not May flowers, but massive amounts of May fun — in the form of the Lake Norman Hospice Regatta Party. The Regatta Party, affectionately known as “the best party on the lake”, is happening this Saturday at the Peninsula Club in Cornelius. The fun will begin at 6:30pm when you can browse the silent auction items while sipping a cocktail and tasting delicious hors d’oeuvres. After a delightful dinner and a stirring presentation, there will be more fun and games and a chance to bid on some amazing live auction items as well.

And, brand new this year, you can purchase a “golden ticket” which gives you the chance to win an unbelievable trip to one of three destinations: Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic, Fairmont Chateau in Lake Louise, Canada, or the Meritage Resort in Napa Valley. We’re only selling 100 of these tickets and half of them have already been purchased so don’t wait too long to capitalize on this opportunity! All trips include $1,000 in spending money and airfare for two. A one in a hundred chance for all of that? Them’s good odds, if you ask me! Golden tickets are available on our website — get yours before they’re all gone!

Your emcees for the evening will be WSOC anchor Allison Latos and WSOC meteorologist Keith Monday. They will charm you throughout the event and keep you well informed of all the goings on — who’s speaking next, when it’s time to win your golden ticket trip (because you are going to win it, right?), and when you need to finalize your silent auction bids.

At this point, all you have to do is buy your ticket, show up, and have a good time. And I’m not a scientist or meteorologist, but if you could equate the severity of those April showers we had on Saturday night to the amount of May fun you’ll have at the Lake Norman Hospice Regatta Party this weekend, I can predict you’re gonna get drenched.

Tickets are $125 and are available on our website. All proceeds benefit Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman.  For more information, contact Nancy Cole at 704.335.4312. 

Special thanks to our most generous presenting sponsors: Huntersville Ford, Kathryn M. Keele, and Lake Norman Transportation Services.

Say yes to beer (and food and sunshine)

Posted April 28, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: awareness, fundraising, hospice, special events

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

craft beerI’ve got some really easy questions for you. Do you like being outside on beautiful days? Do you like delicious food? Are you passionate about craft beer?

Unless you are a hermit, you should have answered “yes” to at least two of those questions.

And if you did, in fact, answer “yes” to at least two of those questions, I’m going to give you a beautiful gift — your ready-made plans for this Saturday afternoon, April 30.

Join us for Hops for Hospice, a fantastic event held out on the patio of Foxcroft Wine Co. on Fairview Road. We’ll be there from 1-4pm with samples of beer from Leffe, Lonerider, Mother Earth Brewing, Mystery Brewing, NoDa Brewing, The Old Mecklenburg Brewery, Sierra Nevada, Starr Hill Brewery, Stella Artois, Sugar Creek Brewing Company, The Unknown Brewing Co, and Triple C Brewing Co. Plus there will be delicious appetizers from the inventive kitchen of Foxcroft Wine Co. And while you’re sipping on beer and noshing on food, you can also make bids for some cool gift baskets in the silent auction.

There really is no better way to enjoy a beautiful spring day in the Carolinas. Unless, of course, you are the aforementioned hermit. And you won’t know what an awesome day you’re missing.

Tickets for Hops for Hospice are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. You can Call 704.365.6550 for more information.

Comfort without being asked

Posted April 19, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: advocacy, awareness, end of life, hospice, Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster, pet therapy, volunteering

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by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

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Ollie

I met the sweetest volunteer the other week. He had truly soul-searching eyes and an uncanny ability to know exactly what patients needed from him, including how he could comfort them, without being asked.

His name was Ollie and he was an eight-year old Labradoodle.

National Volunteer Week was last week and HPCCR made special efforts to recognize the amazing men and women who offer their time and love to the individuals (and their families) under our care. But what about the animals who do the same thing for our organization? It’s definitely harder to show our appreciation. But I think they know; they must certainly feel the intense adoration coming their way from everyone who meets them.

Pet therapy dogs are brilliant. Ollie knows the difference between when he can “be a dog” when it’s time to “go to work”. His owner, Robin, in fact uses those very words (“It’s time to go to work, Ollie!”) when she’s ready to load up and head to Levine & Dickson Hospice House at Southminster, where you can find them each Wednesday afternoon.

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Ollie and his owner, Robin

Robin told me some amazing stories. But one of them really resonated with me and almost brought me to tears. She told me about the time when, after a patient had died, the family (who had particularly loved Ollie) requested that he participate in the ceremonial procession of walking behind the body to the waiting vehicle outside. This family had a long tradition of waving as they said goodbye and they all wanted to wave one last time to their loved one. As the vehicle drove away, all of the family members were waving and crying. Then they turned and looked down (in shock) to see Ollie lift his paw as well. Robin was not surprised. “He totally gets it. You don’t have to say anything.”

Ollie seems to sense when and where the patients need him. He’s been known to jump up on beds but he can also tell when lying on the floor next to them is the best way to offer comfort. He’s always calm, always full of love, and he never fails to bring a smile to at least one face in the room.

I watched Ollie in action that day. We entered the room and, I tell you, the entire mood shifted. Faces lit up, questions were asked about him, and stories were offered up about their own dogs. There was hardly a second when a hand was not on Ollie’s head or stroking his unbelievably soft ears.

And when it was time to go, he knew that too. He moved on to the next room, ready to offer exactly the kind of comfort they needed. Without being asked.

For more information about pet therapy or volunteering with Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, visit our website, hpccr.org or call us at 704.375.0100.

 

 

The power in one word

Posted April 13, 2016 by hpccr
Categories: advocacy, awareness, education, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region

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by Carol Anne Lawler, HPCCR Faith Community Educator

one word imageOne of the benefits of being the Faith Community Educator for Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region is the privilege of presenting information to faith communities and other groups about some aspect of end-of-life care. We often say we can’t ‘add years to your life’, but we can ‘add life to your years’. To that end, I developed a Healthy Aging presentation to do just that! My goal is to communicate how our mind, body, and spirit are all connected and when we do one thing it affects the other aspects of our lives as well. I have experienced this connection first-hand and would like to share a few observations.

In 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the School of the Spirit that consists of four retreats over the course of the year to deepen and expand the participants’ spiritual life. One of the practices is called Centering Prayer. In this form of meditation, rather than focus on the breath or on using a mantra, each person chooses a ‘sacred word’ that is said when one’s thoughts begin to veer off course. The word is used as a gentle reminder to return one’s mind and energies to meditate. The sacred word effectively reminds me of what I know to be true.

Not only has the power of a single word been helpful in my spiritual life, my body has witnessed the power of a single word as well. Let me explain. Since our children have become adults and are now living on their own, my husband and I have more time to pursue activities that are of interest. We can frequently be seen at the Dowd YMCA taking a cycle or ‘spin’ class, as it is called, most Saturday mornings and/or Thursday evenings. When the instructor wants to motivate the class to go faster, she will say the word PUSH! Because of my competitive spirit (even with myself), I began saying PUSH…PUSH… PUSH…(to myself of course), and to my amazement, I watch my speed increase. If, by saying a single word, I can help align my spirit to reflect my values and increase my peddle speed on my stationary bike, what can you and I accomplish with a single action toward what is good?

I am reminded of a quote I heard when I was just 16 years old. (My long-term memory serves me well.) I was taking the classroom part of Driver’s Education in the summer and our instructor wrote these words on the blackboard:“I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something….and by the grace of God, I will do the one thing I can do.” I am convinced; there is at least one thing you and I can do to add healing to the world. The recipe for change, then, is this: change a word + change an action = positive results!

When I was young I long sought the answers to life’s important issues. Now that I am older, I am convinced that asking the right questions holds the key to what matters most.

Here are few questions for consideration: How have I loved this hour? Whom have I helped? How have I lived my principles? As we move into spring may we remember the power of a single word and the strength of a single action can not only add life to our years, it can add new life to our world.

The above article will be published in the summer edition of All About Seniors, a comprehensive resource and referral directory available in North and South Carolina for older adults, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.


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