The most sacred honor for a hospice volunteer is to be called upon to provide a silent presence in place of family members when they have exhausted their energy holding vigil over their loved one during the final transition.
In their absence, the family can get some rest, regain a bit of consistency, hang out with friends with a beer in hand, or just . . . be . . . knowing that someone is present, keeping watch.
Buckley and I took the 6:00-7:00 AM slot, and we tag-teamed with a volunteer who had held vigil for four hours prior to our arrival. While we had met before at a training meeting, we didn’t know each other well. Regardless, there seems to be a bond with fellow volunteers that transcends that of normal acquaintances. I could feel it in the exchange as she left her post, and I assumed it.
I thought of her as she left, wondering if she was now getting ready for a long day at work. And although she sat – silently present – for most of the night, I know she was somehow rejuvenated. I am so proud to serve in this capacity with such dedicated and loving people.
The note above was so thoughtful, though as any volunteer would tell you, completely unnecessary. More than any other thing I have done on this earth, this experience has taught me the definition of grace. A pure act of grace requires no thank you. And pure acts of grace transform you.
Ever present. Never alone.