Volunteer Syd Cregger adds to the peaceful atmosphere of Marley House. Watch the video above to experience the sound of his wood flute spreading through the building.
Imagine facing the end of many of the things you have known and loved.
Imagine being afraid and not knowing what to do to hang on to the people or the memories you love before they disappear.
Imagine your loved one or your friends being unable to help because they, too, are feeling muddled and confused.
Then, imagine someone you have never known stepping forward and offering help. Maybe they bring you a warm cup of coffee, maybe they give direction to a quiet place to sit, introduce you to care providers who will give you individual attention, or even offer you a handmade quilt.
Good Samaritan Society – Prescott Hospice and Marley House maintain volunteer teams that are actively recruited from the Prescott tri-city area.
They tend to be people in their 60s and older. And they often gravitate to this work because they, at some point in their lives, did not have to imagine the scenario above.
It happened to them. They faced the decline or death of a loved one and someone was there. Someone offered a comforting smile in their direction. Someone explained what was happening or what their options might be. Someone walked toward death rather than away from it."
And, they brought with them a warm hand, a listening ear, the comfort of company at a time when it felt as if everything else had suddenly disappeared. Amazingly enough, with the presence of these volunteers, the world seemed to return. There was hope.
Some of our hospice volunteers have experienced the death of their loved one in circumstances distant to us. Many others experienced the care of the Good Samaritan Society with their loved one.
Most of them have stood in the place of wondering what life means, now that their loved one is gone. They have walked their own grief journey and asked difficult questions. They have felt the invisibility of age and debility. They have felt the loneliness of a deceased spouse, parent or child. They have tried to define what was left that had meaning in their lives and why they were “still here.”
As they reviewed the death of the people they loved, they slowly rebuilt hope. They pondered what could have been better in their loved one’s end of life."
They have also realized what was “good,” the small things that were valuable, the things that stuck out in their memory — the things that, as the darkness of grief began to recede, shone out as tokens of caring and love.
Many of these “things,” they realized, were simple: someone sitting with their loved one so they could run an errand, someone reading to their loved one when they were too tired, someone who encouraged and listened to family stories, thereby turning a room full of death into a room full of life simply through their interest and willingness to inspire memories.
With the realization of the simplicity of those things that made a difference came the realization of their own ability to re-purpose themselves. They could do these things.
They could make a difference in the lives of others."
The world was not empty. It was full of the possibility of giving warmth to others. It was full of the possibility of filling emptiness with presence. It was full of opportunities to have and give meaning, no matter how old they were or how many people they had lost. They could still be there for others.
We thank our volunteers for the gifts of themselves, for passing on the warmth that was so valuable to them, and for re-valuing themselves as important members of our hospice team."
Written by Sarah Twombly, bereavement coordinator