With each passing day, we all grow closer to the final chapters of our lives, and with very few exceptions, we will most likely experience a decline in our health along the way. For some of us, those changes will be gradual and subtle and for others it will be more pronounced and acute. Some will unfortunately find themselves struggling with health issues at a younger age than they may have expected, while others are given the gift of old age as they experience the losses that come with a decline in health.
Facing a chronic or life-limiting illness certainly presents with its share of challenges and concerns; emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Although it is often a time of uncertainty and worry, it can also be a time of deep personal growth, awareness, and healing of the spirit. As human beings, we have a remarkable capacity to adapt to even the most unpleasant of circumstances and still find joy, meaning, and peace amid the raging storm that surrounds us. Many people find strength they never knew they had while others need more support to help them through their realized fears. No matter how we cope with whatever we experience, one thing is for certain; we are not meant to do it alone. We have a sense and need to care for one another built into us and it’s one of the strongest and best qualities of humanity.
As we celebrate National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, it seems a fitting time to honor those who are called to be an anchor in the storm by doing the blessed work of caring, helping, and bearing witness. If you were to ask Hospice and Palliative Care employees, they would tell you that their work is a calling, not an occupation. They would tell you that in ways they can’t explain, their lives are forever touched by the patients and families they encounter every day. For it is in their service of caring, that they receive such meaningful fulfillment in return.
David Day, MSW, LICSW
Business Development & Project Manager
Notre Dame At Home (Hospice & Palliative Care)