It is with a heavy heart that I write this week’s blog...
About 8 years ago I decided I wanted to start living again, so I applied to do volunteer work at a hospice close to where I lived. It was small but it was set up like a regular home with a great room, dining room, a very large kitchen - with an island in the centre of it that was always covered in all kinds of goodies - three family rooms, six offices, two meeting rooms and ten very cozy bedrooms for the residents.
Now you might be asking yourself why I would pick such a somber volunteer position, but there were two reasons I decided on the hospice. The first reason was that the hospice was locked up like Fort Knox, and this was important because I didn’t feel safe anywhere that wasn’t locked up against the public. The second reason was purely selfish; I wanted to learn how to live again and who better to teach me than people who were dying.
I got my police check done and immediately started volunteering at the front desk, but it scared me because it reminded me of when I got held up. So I applied for resident care (very similar to a personal support worker), and I never looked back. Sure, it was tough in the beginning but as I watched these incredible human beings lose their strength, along with their ability to walk and talk; all I wanted to do was help them.
There were rules at the hospice and for the most part I followed them, but the one that stated we couldn’t exchange numbers or email addresses with the residents or their families, didn’t make sense to me. These people were going through one of the toughest times in their lives and if they wanted to reach out, there was no way I was going to turn my back on them; especially when there was a connection.
That’s what happened with Caroline. She was the daughter of a woman dying from ovarian cancer, and the connection was immediate. We liked a lot of the same things, we shared the same positive attitude and she was always smiling. It was a friendship made in “heaven;” little did I know it wasn’t going to last.
Less than a year into our friendship, Caroline was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer and the prognosis wasn’t good; but she faced it head on just like she did everything else. She remained positive, never losing hope until she was told she was palliative a couple of months ago (4 years into her fight). She was always smiling and she was always supportive of her friends and loved ones.
That all ended this morning and I believe the world will be a sadder place without her kind smile and loving nature. She was one of the most amazing friends I could ever have and now she’s gone.
Rest in peace my dear friend. You will always hold a place in my heart.
Stay safe, and stay strong until we meet again. XOXO