Mary E. Latela
Many wonderful people feel called to volunteer for Hospice. They are strong, wise, have supportive friends, and want to walk into the holy space, the thin space, where heaven and earth are so close you have a hard time telling the difference. They do this work not because they need cleansing, but because they need to pull up their sleeves and spend some time in the rich earth which is story and silence and sleep and long days.
From a little different perspective, I live in a community of pastors – some retired, some active – and as many are aging, death comes visiting often. Last week I went away for a few days to rest (my idea of vacation is to go somewhere and do nothing!) All the grandchildren had been very ill and were finally recuperating – very frightening.
On the weekend, actually on my birthday, Jean called and told me that her husband had had a terrible stroke and was unresponsive. She is a dear friend, who expends herself taking care of others. So Advanced directives were taken out and reviewed, and, basically we waited …. was it time, or would he come back?
I started writing this when my power was off, and electricians were rebuilding the old, old system. Pumpkins and time with the little ones came, mercifully on a golden Saturday.
Tomorrow, our friend is being moved to Hospice. I cooked some dinner for their family. Life does not come in neat packages or hours or days, but in little (or big) disasters which tug like a tornado. Sometimes I just have to say: “Enough!”