Is Your Head In The Game?


Get your head in the game. One game. One court. Focus. Choose one. For me, that seems like an impossible thing to do. I cheer myself on, tell myself I can do it.  

Today, I physically rode in the car to get a prom dress for my daughter. I knew how important this day was for her. I wanted to be part of it. I wanted it to be special. My heart was right there with the best of intention but my mind was someplace else. I got the message this morning that my hospice patient took a turn for the worst. I stopped in to see her on my way to shop and my mind was stuck there in that nursing home room. I was there still sitting on her bed and kissing her on the head. I was torn between two places and I needed to be in one completely. How do I do that though? How can I get my head in just one game and play it completely? I am always torn and often scattered making it so very hard to ever be fully mindful and present. I guess for today, I will find a way to look less distracted and do my best to put a smile on my face. Now, to find the perfect dress.

A Mark On My Heart


I love you was the last thing she would ever say to me. As I looked into her beautiful eyes, my heart knew this would be the last time, this was really goodbye.

I had no idea when I decided to volunteer for Hospice how attached I could become to another human being in such a short time. I was telling my dad how deeply affected I was by the recent death of a patient I had grown to love. His response took me by surprise. “It’s not good to get attached.” I knew he was wrong. I had come to understand that being completely open to embracing someone with my whole heart was one of the most beautiful gifts I would ever know. Tonight I am in pain. As the rain falls against my window, my tears fall onto my pillow. I am comforted by the fact that my sweet little lady finally got her wish to go back home. I will miss her sweet face and the warmth of her hand and I am a better person because our lives touched, if only for a moment. Timing is everything and I believe everyone we meet serves a purpose. Our short time will leave a mark on my heart. I hope she knew just how special she was to me.

What Would You Do?


So I went to visit my patient today and there was something important they probably should have told me. My patient could not talk and barely had the ability to communicate. He was able to give a thumb up or a thumb down but I have to admit the situation was extremely awkward. How would you have handled meeting a total stranger knowing you were the only one who could talk?

Will You Do It?


Today, I start volunteering for Hospice again after a short break. There are people counting on people like me to come and visit. The number one reason someone requests a hospice volunteer is quite simply because they are lonely. Isn’t that heartbreaking? I too feel lonely and wish magically there would be someone there when I am feeling low or happy or excited or just simply want to share some thoughts. My message today is simple. Be there for someone today. Make them feel heard or appreciated, understood or loved. Our time here is short and it is so sad to think we exist with so many people in this world and still can feel entirely alone. Make a difference in someone’s life today. Be the difference.

Is Your Tank Empty?


You’ve heard the quote, “Be a Fountain, Not A Drain”. Today I am the fountain and I’m feeling drained. There is delicate balance between give and take. There is that one sweet spot where peace blows quietly through your hair and you feel the sunlight on your face. You recognize the place when you are there because it’s a comfortable fit when you haven’t been pulled too much in any one direction or the other. But, when you give a little too much, more than your share, you just feel completely exhausted. 

I spent the entire day at a nursing home with a patient and her family today. The more I volunteer, the more I want to help. It’s In my nature to fix the broken and heal the sick. Yes I am aware I do not have that kind of power but it doesn’t have to stop me from trying. It’s also exhausting. It’s one thing to put on a happy, supportive face but it’s another to try and remain detached. I don’t believe you can help if you are detached at all. The more you care, or at least I care, the more motivated I am to help. I sometimes think it’s a character flaw that I care too much. There are those unfortunate times when my tank gets empty. If it wasn’t for that warning signal that lights up on the dashboard I probably wouldn’t notice until my car was completely out of gas. Unfortunately, when it comes to giving and being human, there is no indicator that lets us know we’ve given too much. I need to remember to take care of myself first so that I don’t run out of energy when I need it most. So, that is my message today. Put on your own oxygen mask first and then help put on the masks of the people around you. Don’t let your tank get too low and if it does, stop whatever you’re doing and fill it back up. One thing I know for sure, you are no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself. Don’t try and be hero. Leave that for comic books. Just do your share the best you can and don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. 

What Are You Waiting For?


My hospice patient died today. I only met him once but I can still feel his firm grasp on my hand and the way he pulled me close and told me to take care of myself as I was leaving. We had a moment. a pause in time to stand there looking at each other. A moment to say I see you and you are important to me. I never expected that last Tuesday would be the first and last time we would ever meet. I remember him waiting for his daughter. That is what we do in life…we wait. We wait to grow up. We wait to graduate and go to college. We wait to get the perfect job and meet the person we are meant to spend our lives with. We wait to have kids  and then we wait for them to move out. We wait for phone calls that never come. We wait to have enough money to visit a person we love. We wait for the right time to go on the vacation we have always dreamed about. We wait for our daughter to visit in the nursing home and finally we wait to die. 

How many minutes do you spend waiting a day? A year? A lifetime? Don’t wait anymore. Do it today. Make it happen. Pick up that phone. Buy that plane ticket. Go on that vacation. Enjoy your life and love with your entire being. Feel each breath you take and be grateful for every minute you have. Don’t wait anymore. Death is inevitable and it doesn’t always wait until you’re ready. Love, forgive and live today, right now, in this moment. This moment is all you ever have. 

What I Learned From A Cup of coffee


Today was my first day as a volunteer for Hospice. On my way to meet my first patient, I asked myself why I was doing this. The answer was obvious. For years I have lived away from family. I keep to myself so close friendships are few and far between. It’s always been hard for me to let someone in. One thing that never changes is sometimes I just feel lonely. Sometimes I want to know someone is there to support me and to show they care. That is my purpose now. To be that person. The welcoming smile, the dependable visit, the ear that listens to the heart longing to speak. My first visit was to the Veterens Center. It was the first time I’ve ever been in one. It was obvious how everyone there appreciated a new face, a warm hello, a silent moment of eye contact. These people have every reason to feel discouraged, depressed, maybe even angry. The truth is they were happy and friendly and considerate of each other. My heart broke as my sweet man told me his story of how he lost his leg. As we talked, he waved and smiled at all the workers repeating again and again how wonderful and helpful they all were. He told me how lucky he was to have a safe place to lay his head and three hot meals waiting for him everyday. A sweet girl with pretty braids brought him a cup of coffee. He held it to his nose for a minute and took a sip. He closed his eyes and took that moment to be completely grateful for that warm cup of coffee. That coffee reminded me that there is always something to be grateful for. If we make it a daily practice to appreciate the simple things, imagine how grateful we will feel for the really big things. We have a choice to complains about everything that is wrong or to feel grateful for all that is right. I learned a lot today but most importantly that it feels good to serve. It feels good to donate my time in honor of someone else and to be the smile on the receiving side of a friendly wave. I’ve learned that we all need someone to talk to and something to look forward to. I’ve learned that we have so much time wasted on things that don’t matter and not nearly enough time spent on the people sitting across from us. Smile at someone today. Start a conversation with a stranger. Make eye contact. Be THAT person and notice the difference you make.