Why I Love Wednesdays

Agapé Hospice volunteer with resident
by Alberta

As I walk across the park on my way to The Salvation Army Agapé Hospice, I prepare for the day ahead. I never know what I’ll be doing on my favourite day of the week, but I know that a certain mind set – or should I say “heart set” – is the secret to making it a good one.

I get a cup of coffee and make my way to “Huddle” – a time when volunteers and employees spend a few minutes in the boardroom to discover how best to work together for the benefit of the Residents and families we are currently serving. And then I’m off!

Sarita* privileges me with her recollection of her home in India before she came to Canada. Cassie* likes someone to read to her. Stella* requests a needle and thread to do some repairs on her oxygen apparatus! Jacob* chats about his experience as a tail gunner during the Second World War. All of our Residents have interesting life stories to tell.

I’m asked if I’ll sit with Mary*, a young mom who has taken a sudden turn and who is waiting for her husband and children to arrive. Her breathing is so difficult she doesn’t want to waste breath on speaking, so she writes notes: “Will you move my children’s photo closer so I can see it?” “I wonder what’s taking them so long?” “Would you brush my hair?” Her breathing seems to be worsening. I press her call button and the nurse appears with some medication. The family arrives. Our Social Worker comes to the room and gently takes the children to the Elephant Room where there are craft supplies. The little girl chooses beads to make a necklace for her mom. She makes a matching one for herself. Her bigger brother, when asked if he could like something to drink, decides on tea. “Mom and I are the tea drinkers in the family.” He solemnly sits in the lounge, reading a book and sipping his tea. Do I cry? Later, yes, later.

I get a call from Reception. Someone has dropped in for a tour. I go downstairs and meet a family of adult children, barely holding themselves together. When they leave, I can see that they have taken one more step on the road to good-bye, and that they feel a little easier than when they arrived.

Time to go home. As I head out the door, I say a silent good-bye to those I served today, knowing that next Wednesday some will no longer be here. Reflecting on my day, I remember the smiles, the laughter, and the tears…but most of all, I remember the people whose lives I have touched and who have touched me, on this, my best day of the week.

by Pat Jamniczky
Agapé Hospice Volunteer

Story reprinted with permission from The Salvation Army Agapé Hospice annual newsletter and edited for space.

*names have been changed.