Is this my last chance?

by Jim Young, HPCCR Volunteer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been volunteering for HPCCR for over five years.  Believe me when I tell you that I have personally received a lot more from the experience than I have given.  Recent events in my personal life, however, have me questioning my commitment to this cause that I have never questioned before.  I find myself asking, “Can I keep my commitment to do this anymore?”  Maybe some of you have asked the same question as we all seem to get pulled away from our commitments, and even worse, our personal commitments pull us away from the ones who depend on us to be there.

One of the many lessons I have learned from my time with hospice is that you may only have one chance to interact with a patient or loved one.  You may have only one chance to see a smile, or share the tears of a moment, whether it be happy or sad.  And finally, you may only have one chance to walk with someone special who will teach you about life in just a few steps, or maybe they will teach you what is truly important in the walk of life.  It isn’t their worldly possessions, or the places they have been, or even their accomplishments throughout their lives.  It is the quality in the essence of life, and the people who have shared that essence. It’s an amazing perspective from a place where life meets with death, or a place where life exists but the memories are long gone.

In hospice, time could be the deciding factor in that one chance for a doctor, nurse, or a volunteer to make a positive impact on that patient (or loved one or friend) before death comes — a foe that cannot be defeated, who has no mercy or understanding , a cancerous enemy taking loved ones without warning or reasoning. This is the question I keep asking myself: “Have I had my last chance?”

I hope and pray that all who read this have the same passion I have when it comes to this war that cannot be won.  But I know the battle can be fought without surrender, that we can fight this battle against cancer, dementia, fatigue, despair, sickness, even anger and frustration.  We simply have to offer our commitment to the needs of others, compassion and understanding in the face of confusion and hopelessness, and our love for this wonderful and noble organization in order to step through the fears of death.  Then we can see the life that still shines brightly, the essence of life that evolves into a beacon in the search for peace.

We all have our commitments to our own families, and our own lives, but we also have a commitment to contribute to the good of the world because of the blessings we have each have been graced with.  My faith and my heart will guide my thoughts as I ask God, “Can I have another chance to embrace those on the edge where life meets death?”  I hope and pray I will have that chance.

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, end of life, Levine & Dickson Hospice House, volunteering

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