“About a year ago a good friend died. It was a very sad time, and I was at a loss to know what to say to the family and friends who were left behind. This experience really brought home to me how little we understand and acknowledge death in our society, even though it’s an inevitable fact of life, and how having a more loving, understanding and realistic approach is much more useful for ourselves and each other.
I had thought about Palliative Care volunteering, but it was only recently that I felt I had enough time and flexibility in my own work to pursue this. I did the training over two days, which was very helpful, and am now matched with a client. I have found this to be a different relationship from others I’ve experienced, and very rewarding. It’s about being totally selfless – this has to be about the client, not yourself; it’s about opening yourself up to hearing and feeling things that we usually try to barricade ourselves against. It’s not really a give-and-take relationship, like a friendship, nor is it service-based, where you’re there to do a job. It’s a totally giving relationship, and your reward comes from helping a person along an incredibly important journey.
I have found that talking about palliative care has allowed other friends to really open up about experiences they’ve had with the death of loved one.
I am still very much learning about what it means to be a Pall Care volunteer – I’m guessing this never really stops – and am very glad I made the decision to do this. The level of support from Rosemary, others in the Pall Care team, and the other volunteers is wonderful – you never feel like you’re on your own.”