Don't Go Where You're Not Invited

Over the years people have told me stories of a friend or neighbor who was dealing with end of life issues. They then have asked that I call that person and talk with them. I learned the embarrassing way to reply that I don’t go anywhere uninvited. They can tell their friend about me, give them my number and tell them I would be glad to talk with them BUT they have to call me.

Early in my Hospice career a friend told me about a neighbor who was struggling with the care and approaching death of her husband. Being the good neighbor I rang her doorbell, introduced myself, told her our mutual friend suggested I might be of help to her during this challenging time. Her reply was to tersley advise me they were doing quite well, thank you very much, and closed the door in my face.

In reliving this experience for the hundredth time I realized no matter how well intentioned a person is others may not see it that way. People are private individuals, they protect their privacy. They are not necessarily open to strangers getting into their space. Now add a person who is struggling, is stressed, is dealing with emotional issues of fear and uncertainty and they are not going to be receptive to a stranger approaching them out of the blue.

It is hard enough to open up to a stranger we have reached out to for help, someone with credentials, someone recommended. In our society today we have learned to be non-trusting, to be wary of strangers, strangers calling on the phone, strangers showing up at our door.

Most people in the helping professions are fix-it-personalities. We see a person struggling and our instinct is to jump in and try to fix whatever the challenge--invited or not. We are used to getting into others space, to giving opinions, making suggestions all with the intention of helping. BUT it is my opinion we need to wait for an invitation.

Something more about Don't Go Where You're Not Invited...

I go into more detail on this subject in The Final Act of Living. "Saving" a person is left to invited clergy, no one else," I write. I also share other areas that caregivers need to be "invited" to.

1 comment

Karin H Anderson

I was in the room with my dad. Hospice came in and was not invited to participate. I can not have peace.

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