Yesterday on my way to my volunteer work at the local Hospice, I heard one of my favourite songs playing on the radio. “Good Mother’ by Jann Arden infiltrates my soul whenever I hear it. Maybe it’s because my good mother died almost 7 years ago now, or maybe it’s just because Jann’s voice is so incredibly melodic. There’s a line in the song “Just be yourself”, that for some reason, seemed to stick with me yesterday. I thought “Yeah, no matter what, I’m just going to be myself today and see what joy that brings!”
Fast forward to just after lunch at the Hospice…..the director asked me if I would spend some time with a young woman, who had been in the residence for a couple of weeks. She’s been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; and of course is very bitter that the time she took to live her life making healthy choices was not supporting her now, and she was facing her mortality whether she wanted to or not. No one said life was fair, but until you are actually facing death in the face, I can only imagine that the fear I have faced in my own life to this point, is a mear illusion.
I’ve been volunteering at the hospice for a year now, and I can tell you my whole perspective on death has been shifted. I watch a favourite client/patient die each month and it helps me to internalize that old familiar saying of how precious life is and you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it.
I’m writing about this today, because I never realized until yesterday just what 60 minutes of my time can do for someone whose life is being cut short by the hand of cancer (or any disease for that matter). When asked if I would spend time with her, I agreed, but quickly told the director that I had to be back in half an hour because of something special happening in the music room. She said that was ok, that 30 minutes with her was better than nothing as the patient was feeling very depressed. I headed to her room, and the mood was obvious….she was very down, and I felt it my responsibility to bring some light into the situation. I never looked at my watch to see when 30 minutes was up, becuase after engaging in some great conversation, and playing a board game, our souls connected on a level I’ve never experienced before. I could feel that she was grateful beyond measure that I would take time away from my schedule to help her and simply be with her. Eventually, she started to feel tired and a bit weary, so I wheeled her back to her room, helped her to feel as comfortable as possible, and left. As I closed the door, I couldn’t help but feel that my heart…..and her heart had been opened to the true meaning of love. Instead of worrying that I was saying or doing the ‘right’ thing, I just allowed myself to ‘just be myself”. By letting go and just ‘being’, my energy helped someone else just be themselves too! It was only 60 minutes of my life…..but one hour that brought light into an otherwise darkened day, and it was something my heart will never forget.
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
Whose world can you change today with just a smile, a glance or and hour of your time?