The following tribute to hospice volunteers was written by Joyce Marie Sheldon, author of From Fear to Faith, a Caregiver's Journey, and is reprinted here with her permission:
She came very quietly into our lives -- the hospice volunteer. It seemed as though someone had chosen a friend for us -- out of a catalog -- matching her sweet and sensitive spirit to our deep despair and emotional fatigue.
She sat quietly in the living room on the days when I was unable to speak. She lingered with me over a cup of tea when all I needed was her silent presence. And when my needs grew -- especially my need for words of faith and trust -- she drew a small book from her purse and read a passage that touched my heart. She didn't lecture or preach -- simply shared a few comforting words that seemed to fill every ounce of air that had previously hung so heavily over the room.
Oh, I loved that hospice volunteer!
On the morning my husband died, all of a sudden she was in the living room, sitting quietly and sedately in a chair near the window. Who had called her? Not me ... but there she was. Her sacred presence, her respectful demeanor, the way she remained outside the circle of family and yet, an integral part -- oh, I am so grateful. I knew she was there, and yet, the blessing of her presence was not fussy or loud or directing or controlling.
She was part of the fabric of our faith. She had seen me cry, watched me move thru doubt and despair. When I didn't think I could go on, her hand on my shoulder gave me strength. When I was sinking physically and emotionally, she lifted me up. Her heart reached out to me with understanding and compassion -- a stranger who had become a friend -- a single thread of hospice which had become part of the fabric of my days.
Hospice and Home Care have become like another child to me since the experiences of those care giving days 12 years ago -- a child to whom I am totally dedicated -- a child I am committed to nurturing and inspiring -- a child whom I love -- and will love -- forever.
Thank you to each and every hospice volunteer. You have woven the fabric of my life. Every stitch in the fabric of my faith has been bound tightly so that I might serve others. Every thread you wove, with vibrant colors of blue and red and gold, has made me who I am today -- a hospice and home care advocate -- and a woman who loves you ... always.
About the Author – Joyce Marie Sheldon is an inspirational speaker who specializes in keynotes, conferences, retreats and workshops for hospice and home care agencies. The half-day retreat she designed especially for hospice volunteers can be arranged by contacting Joy at 704-663-4815, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.MyJoyToday.com. Her free weekly newsletter offers words of inspiration, updates on her speaking schedule, answers to your questions, excerpts from her books, and other special announcements.
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