Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I saw a good facebook status from a friend from Indiana - now "we" have a White Christmas - how about now we go for Peace on Earth! Today would be the only day that I miss the snow. My nephew and his mom and dad went sledding last night - sounded like fun. Although the older I get, the more I like to go down the hill and the less I like to go up.

I feel a bit like I witnessed a Chrismas miracle this week. There has been a 48 year old mom with two daughters, 9 and 11,who is dying of ovarian cancer. The girls' one item on their Christmas list was to have mom home on Christmas. On Thursday, she was so sick and mostly unresponsive. The family was called in - I spent most of the day with them, and then...she got a little better. She actually went home yesterday late, was with the girls last night and came back to hospice today. What an amazing story - truly a miracle. I think miracles can come in lots of ways and sometimes they are not what we are looking for, but this time, a family saw the miracle of Christmas up close and personal.

I got home from work today and I heard the ice cream truck! That is a sound you would not hear on Christmas day in Indiana. It seemed strange to say the least. Experiencing Christmas in Florida for the first time has been....unique. Experiencing my birthday for the first time here has been a little sad. So I am very thankful for the phone calls to sing and the many, many wishes on Facebook. That has been fun to read the comments all day long.

So from Florida - Merry Christmas to all of you! May you know God's love this day and see the presence of the Divine all around you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15

When you live in Florida, there is a whole new meaning to some of the Christmas songs. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and Frosty the Snowman and White Christmas don't make as much sense here. So it's December 15 and it does not look like Christmas.

Hospice work has been really busy. I worked this past weekend and we had 10 deaths in 2 days. Wow. That is alot of death. I met a family that were missionaries and felt very strongly that they did not need chaplains. They were kind and enjoyed conversation but no talk of spirituality. However, as their mother died, they let me in as I offered a blessing. They asked for a copy of the blessing to send to other family members. You just never know.

I met a patient last Thursday and we laughed and talked and connected. We were planning on watching something together on my laptop on Saturday. I went in Saturday to find that death was imminent. It has been difficult to work with her family as I had planned on working with her. Two daughters often want me by their side which I am happy to do. The spouse has been making baby steps to prepare. He was still hoping for a miracle. There may be a miracle but it is probably not going to be recovery of health. I hope he gets a miracle in some way though.

I did a memorial service today - actually I have been doing them regularly lately. Today, the friends and family told so many stories of their loved one that it was very endearing. The service was for someone that loved to play the piano and loved music. Today, at the hospice house, we had a volunteer that was playing the harp in our hearth room so as the guests for the service were gathering, we could hear the harp. Felt a bit like angels making music.

The CEO of our hospice sent a note today that included a quote from Elizabeth Edwards facebook page just before she died..."The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful." Amen sista!

I am ready for a 3 day weekend with some time to do some preparations for Christmas. I need to get presents in the mail - and just in case you are wondering if I am sending you one, well, I am sending to Trent and Rowan. Maybe next year.

I finally pulled out some Christmas music - maybe the music will help me feel more like it is Christmas. But I think of my grandma's (mom's mom) favorite song that was Little Drummer Boy. That made my mom not really like hearing that particular song. My own mom's favorite was Silent Night - you know I don't really like hearing that one. My favorite is usually O Holy Night but this year, it feels more like my favorite will be, I'll be home for Christmas. I may not actually be there, but in my dreams, I think I will be.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6

My oh my, it's been quite a while since I posted something here. I still love the hospice world. This week seems to be the week for memorial services - many families of people that die at the hospice house really appreciate the space and the warmth of the surroundings. On some kind of level, it feels like home and families like to have services for their loved one on the grounds where they died. The first service I did here was for a 25 year old - that one will always be etched on my heart.

More recently, a woman came in that had just learned of her cancer spreading to all organs. As you can imagine she was on quite a ride through grief. She would take pictures all around the grounds of the plants as she wanted them planted in her own yard for her family when she was gone. She is such a dear - she left the hospice house late last week to go home. We are all hopeful that she can live her dream a little live fully every day. And I also know that very soon, I will see her again.

I say this just about every time but it becomes such a force that I cannot forget - live abundantly - life is short. I learn alot of things about patients and illness and grief and family dynamics and the end of life, but the one thing that I know for sure - all people die, some people live.

The holidays feel strange this year. It is hard to get in the Christmas spirit when the sun is shining and people are wearing shorts. The dinky apartment feels too small for decorations - and too hard to get to the boxes with the decorations so perhaps we will just look at the lights on the neighbor's tree. I am working on Christmas day which I have never done before. We were talking with my cousin who lives near Tampa about what to do to celebrate this year. We need a new if anyone has a cool tradition that could be done in FL, let me know! But one thing I don't mind - no snow for Christmas. I think that works out well.

Enjoy the season of glad tidings. Enjoy the season of preparation and waiting...what are you preparing for?