Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Valentine's Day is a special time of year for many lovers who might exchange cards and heartfelt messages, go on dates, and enjoy quality time together. Working in hospice as a volunteer coordinator, I have come to value time spent with others. Confronting mortality with hospice patients and their families has provided me a better understanding that we are all given a limited time on planet earth. Though it can be sad and difficult for us to understand, death is just as much a part of life as is birth. At the end of life we say goodbye to those we love and go our separate ways.
Goodbyes such as this are hard. When one watches their life long spouse pass away as a terminally ill hospice patient, the surviving spouse is left with grief that might be harder to cope with on special days such as Valentine's Day. Time previously spent conversing over a hot meal might then be spent alone, making life that much more difficult to handle. A special day of the year many lovers use to exchange heartfelt moments and enjoy quality time together could no longer retain that meaning to someone grieving.
Because of moments like this, Medi Hospice in a total family care approach keeps contact with the loved ones of patients for a 13 months after their loved one has passed away. Bereavement support is an essential piece to hospice care. Mailings about grief, telephone calls, group support meetings and even visits from hospice staff to family members help them work through the grief process. All this is done with genuine compassion and concern so that families may better deal with emotions of loss in a healthy, positive way. That way the first Valentine's Day without your partner will hopefully be a little easier to get through.