Hospice is about life

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

When you work for a hospice organization, the one thing that you take away with you at the end of each day is the knowledge that time should not be wasted.  We are only given this one life and you never know when your “time” will come.  I know that’s a depressing thought, but at the same time, it’s a huge blessing to understand and embrace this concept.  If you do, it’s likely that when you’re on the path to meet your maker, your regrets will be few.  But the experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve loved will fill your heart and you will know that YOU LIVED.

That’s why we should celebrate life.  Every day.  Sure, there are days that are just plain miserable, but there are just as many that leave you wanting to do the 24 hours all over again. 

Birthdays should always be like that.  We should cherish every one — the enjoyment shouldn’t stop at 40.  In fact, we need to get rid of this stigma that 40 is “over the hill” because you know what, folks?  If that saying is correct, then we reach the end of the hill at 80.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t accept that plan.  I may be 40, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m not over the hill; I’m still climbing it.  I’m not sure what age I’ll be when I’m over it, but I’m betting (okay, hoping) that it’s a long time from now.

So now I invite you to meet Billie, a patient of Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region who recently turned 81.  I don’t think she’s on the other side of that hill yet either.  In fact, when you watch this video, you’ll see that Billie is definitely still in the climbing phase.         

Here’s the back story: Billie is a so-called “Vegas girl” and for her birthday, she really wanted to see Elvis.  So Billie’s HPCCR social worker, Dan, got permission to use our “family fund” to pay for an Elvis impersonator (Chuck Ayers, “Charlotte’s Voice of Elvis”) to come to the assisted living center where Billie lives.  Every resident there was able to witness the concert.  And let me tell you, it was certainly a sight to see. 

Decked out in his tight, bright red suit with golden suns appliquéd all over it (Chuck calls the outfit “burnin’ love”), he sashayed out and proceeded to belt out some of the King’s classics.   Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Teddy Bear, Suspicious Minds, Can’t Help Falling in Love — he sang them all and he did it while making the rounds of the room, kissing every lady in sight.  I think the birthday girl got the most smooching, but that’s only fair seeing as how the celebration was in honor of her. 

Watching this video makes you realize what hospice is all about.  It’s about birthday cakes and candles.  Kissing Elvis.  Enjoying every moment that is given to you because each one is a gift. 

It’s about relishing every step of the climb up that blasted hill and down the other side.  It’s about life.

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, hospice, long-term care, special events

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