Note: The beautiful music in the video below is from the album Requiem, by Lindsey Gaia/Winterbird; You can hear the full song here: Artemis
Yesterday, I had the profound honor of offering space for hospice staff at Community Health & Counseling Services to enter into some deep rest and renewal. As many of you know, Rest & Renewal Sessions, Rituals and Events are some of my regular offerings (CLICK HERE FOR WINDFIRE MINISTRIES REST & RENEWAL SESSIONS), but it was a special privilege to make some sacred Renewal time for these hard working human beings. I was deeply moved by the raw authenticity, expansive hearts and impeccable integrity with which participants shared, supported one another and expressed love for the work - for patients, families and co-workers - they each love so completely.
We sought and found lost parts of ourselves, shared deeply, did some somatic cleansing exercises, rested and re-energized one another, and planted seeds of hopes and dreams we want to see come to fruition this year. . . Isn't this what Springtime is for??
I want to take this moment also, to say (yet again) that if you or your family experienced anything other than utmost respect, kindness and support in a hospice experience, you were in the wrong place. Hospice, at it's best, is nothing more and nothing less than a WHOLE TEAM OF FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS WHO ARE THERE TO SUPPORT YOU (or your loved one). I have worked with three hospice organizations, and each has had at the center of it's purpose,
the aim and intention to HONOR THE PATIENT'S WISHES.
Hospice is there to make your lived moments all you can hope for them to be; not only to mitigate pain (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) - which we are quite good at doing - but to make your moments here on Earth as full of delight and wonder, love and connection, life-healing, meaning-making, and a sense of personal completion - even JOY - as possible.
The staff I work with are committed so deeply to the task of supporting you and your family; they work overtime, show up at all hours, make referrals when you need them, carry you in their hearts throughout your journey with us - and well beyond. Hospice is not about "it's time to die" - hospice is about enlisting a team of devoted humans to support you in
LOVING THE MOMENTS YOU HAVE AS BEST YOU CAN.
My personal belief is that we should ALL have the benefits of hospice - all through life!! Imagine this: You have a compassionate and knowledgeable doctor who deeply listens to your story; nurses who come to know you intimately and offer a compassionate ear as well as expert medical training, experience and access to medications and any equipment you might need for comfort in your life; a social worker who is familiar with the ins and outs of writing a will, having your health and death wishes set up legally, can connect you to services you or your family will need upon your death, offer bereavement support to your loved ones; a spiritual advisor who has NO AGENDA other than to be present with you on your own terms - a fellow human being who is there to discuss all the many issues around fear and grace in living and dying, after life or not, whether you are deeply religious or full on atheist; a home health aide to assist with any physical needs such as bathing or moving a tired body; and even a volunteer who shows up to read to you or help with chores or just give you a moment of joy in the midst of all life piles upon us. . . and that regularly, this devoted team meets to discuss HOW THEY CAN BETTER SERVE YOU IN MAKING YOUR LIFE WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE, no matter how much or how little time you may have on this precious journey we call Life. Your team will facilitate you in making amends or completing tasks or gathering family. They will assist you in learning about what to expect. They will do their best to show up when you need them. They will help you communicate with distanced loved ones, write letters to those you feel you can't speak with, offer kindness in the face of your deepest fears and celebrate with you as you harvest the learnings your life offers you.
Hospice is a magical, meaningful tribe that gathers with you in honor of you.
Again, I was so moved to be there for these fabulous people who are there for so many.
Thank you Bangor office, for trusting and risking and so bravely loving your patients, one another, and your selves.
Live and Die Heartfully, Dear Friends.
PS: To inquire about Community Health & Counseling Services Hospice or Home Healthcare:
Bangor Contact Information:
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Rev. Maya Massar