Isn’t it Depressing to Work in Hospice?
Those of us who work in Hospice often hear the question, “Isn’t it depressing to work in Hospice?" We know it isn’t, but it is often hard to explain why. Usually the answer boils down to two things: The work is extremely rewarding in that we are making a difference, and the things that we learn by doing the work are life transforming. The employees and volunteers at Hospice of Southern Maine have a passion for the work of hospice that is demonstrated day after day in the care and compassion that they bring to each moment with our patients and families. At a time when each moment counts, this makes all the difference.
Having the privilege of hearing what people say as they lie on their death beds is something that we are grateful for. What a powerful way to learn! We are told about the hard lessons learned; lessons that have been distilled from a whole lifetime. We hear about joys and regrets, and we witness the laughter and tears that accompany them. Our reward comes from knowing that we truly made a difference in the last part of these lives and the lives of those who care for them. We provide comfort in so many ways. We ease the pain and suffering of the physical body. We also help people with the suffering that comes in the emotional, spiritual, and social domains.
When we know we have helped someone say good bye or bring closure to a difficult relationship, or come to peace with spiritual distress, we feel fulfilled. Watching a face lined with tension and worry, and streaming tears, ease to a smile is like nothing else. Therein lies the reward that keeps us from feeling depressed. We know we have made a difference and that is why we do what we do.
As the CEO at Hospice of Southern Maine, with a history of loving the work of hospice for more than twenty years, it is a privilege to be part of this organization and to work with such dedicated people. We have a talented and engaged board and strong community support to count among our many blessings. With this team of extraordinary people and their collective passion for Hospice we will continue to provide the compassion, care and comfort that makes all the difference.