Celebrate Life

Denise Stancill, Director of Business Development, Hospice of Holland Inc.

Celebrating may not be the first word that comes to mind when you are nearing end of life of a loved one. But what better time to celebrate life, for all it’s given, and for all the memories. The hospice mission is personal and often challenging…to help a dying patient. To make the most of each day and every precious moment.

It is common for many to raise the question of a Hospice employee, “How can you work there?” Certainly, given the nature of hospice work, it is reasonable to wonder what the draw is for such a highly complex and sensitive specialty. It is no stretch of the imagination to perceive the work of caregiving to terminally ill people as feeling heavy and overwhelming due to the daily focus on end of life.

The reason for the draw is Hospice, by nature, is all about celebrating life and all the things that make people want to live. Hospices exist to honor the sacredness of human life and the unique pages of each person’s story as they journey through it. The real focus of hospice care is about living.

The hospice care team works to enable those who engage with Hospice to feel they are important and worthy of dignity and respect each day they live while under hospice care. Caregiving at this sacred time in life is about celebrating who each individual is and honoring their own end-of-life wishes; what is important to them.

The end of life is also an opportunity to set differences aside, to reconnect, perhaps even reconcile with those who may have drifted away. Quite often, the final days together are filled with stories and laughter…a celebration of sorts.

I quite often find we are given little reminders over the course of a given day of just how precious the gift of life is; even amidst those times where the moments do not always feel so perfect. In our office at Hospice of Holland, we have countless pictures displayed in our workroom of our staff members celebrating life in various ways that are unique to them. Some of the images portray quiet walks in the park, some highlight special occasions and group activities, but many are of the simple moments spent with family and friends (and often a favorite pet!).

The pictures are there in part as a subset of our employee wellness program. The images portrayed are often reflective of efforts we make as a team to live healthy and experience a higher quality of life. They convey little moments in time where we are deliberate to engage in living. Much like what hospice care-givers seek to promote when caring for our end-of-life patients.