I was asked to say a few words to a graduating class of end of life doulas. I thought about what to say for quite a while. What could I give them that hadn’t already been given in their course? What would I have wanted someone to say to me when I started out in this end of life arena?
After I wrote what I wanted to share I thought, “I want to share this with all those who work in end of life!” It isn’t just when we begin our journey of working with end of life that words of encouragement and direction can be of guidance. These thoughts apply to us anywhere on the path, the beginning, after years and even as we are about to end our career. These words apply to hospice workers and volunteers, Stephens Ministers, parish nurses, all EOL workers ———
To all those who work or volunteer with end of life:
The greatest gift you have to give is time. It won’t be the words you say, even the guidance you give, although that is all very important. It will be the time you spend or don’t spend, your presence, that will be remembered.
Your presence literally takes away the “ghosts of fear” most of us bring to the bedside of someone who is dying. The “I’m not alone no matter what happens, someone who knows is with me” is what we bring. Our knowledge, our manner, our expressions, our words are important but our time is our most valuable tool.
Those who work with end of life are on a fantastic journey. It can be a scary journey. There will be times you feel insecure in your knowledge and your abilities. Times when there will be no words to say, no comfort to give but you will be there. Be there to guide all present into a sacred experience. You will be the conductor of their life’s song. By your guidance that song will become their sacred memory.
That is no small job!!
I’ll just add, I am here for you. As you begin this adventure, know that you can email me personally firstname.lastname@example.org
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