Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watching a Bird Feeder

For the last 5 months I have worked at something I have never talked about on this blog.  In April of this year I became a volunteer at hospice.  Every other Wednesday I work at the hospice for 4 hours help patients and doing pretty much anything that needs to be done.

Over the last 6 weeks there has been a patient by the name of Alice at the hospice.  I first met A. in early August shortly after I returned from vacation in Wyoming.  At that time A. was pretty strong.  She was in hospice because she was old and had a heart condition and wasn't expected to live that long.  As a volunteer I don't have access to the patient's medical records and I really don't know all that was going on with A.  She had a lot of tremors so the first week I met A. I helped her eat dinner.  She had a horrible set of shakes like she had Parkinson disease.

That first week I sat there and helped her eat dinner and talked to her.  We both looked out the window and laughed as we watched a squirrel get into the bird feeder that was mounted on a pole outside her window.  The squirrel was so determined to get the food out of the bird feeder.  He/she hung from their hind legs from the top of the feeder and stuck their head into the holes that the birds were supposed to go into.  It was hilarious to watch this squirrel perched precariously from the top of the feeder.  A. got a tremendous amount of enjoyment from watching "her friend" try and get into that feeder!

Tonight around 7:20PM A. died.  She was the first patient who died while I was on duty at the hospice.  It wasn't unexpected as she had gotten weaker and weaker over the last 2 weeks.  She was old.  She was sick, but still the place that A. held in this world is now empty.  It gives me a lot of pause to think about what life is about.  It gives me a lot of pause to think about what is important.

I never had any kind of detailed conversation with A. and I really don't know that I knew much about her.  Regardless I am glad that I spent those few scattered moments with her over the last 2 months.  Despite her death it just makes you realize that all life is good.  If A. could lie there on what became her death bed and laugh at a squirrel, you know life is good.  No matter what - as long as you breathe and have life - it is all good!!

No much else going on.  My personal life over the last 2 weeks has been somewhat hellish but I am hoping that will resolve itself shortly.  Zack is doing really well when it comes to school.  For the first time since he entered middle school in August of 2010, he has really, really good grades.  He seems to really be getting the importance of maintaining good grades and doing well in school.  I am so proud of my Zack!!

Anyway - time to go to bed.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

1 comment:

Rilly said...

Just being there for someone in their final hours is comforting to both and yet very sad. I'm sure A. will be eternally grateful to you.