In my thirty two years as a volunteer for Hospice of East Texas, I have served probably 150 patients and their families. My youngest patient was 2 weeks old, and my oldest was 106 years old. I have served people the same age as my parents, the same age as I am, and some the same age as my children. All were facing the end of their lives, and it was a privilege to share that journey with them.
My favorite patient of all time was an older woman who played piano and taught children in her younger life. I play piano as well, so we had that in common and talked a lot about music and children. Her father grew up in Greece and was a shepherd for a while. She said each shepherd had his own flock, but all of the sheep stayed in the same place together at night for protection. In the morning, when it was time for the shepherd to take the sheep out to pasture, each shepherd called his own sheep, and the sheep would recognize the voice of their shepherd and come to them. I have shared that story many times, especially with children. It’s a reminder to me of the story in the Bible and the Good Shepherd who calls us to Him.
Every patient I have served has given something back to me and taught me invaluable life lessons. I thought I would be giving to them, but they have given to me. I have met and loved people that I would probably never have known without this connection.
Serving as a Hospice of East Texas volunteer has been my life’s work, and I plan to volunteer for the rest of my life.