It was Saturday night and I was at the multiplex watching the Bulldogs play against Coquitlam. During the first intermission a young woman, sitting in the same row as I was, came over to me and asked me if I had some time for her.
I had seen her all season, she had been pregnant and at this game it was the first time I saw her sitting with her new born on his father’s lap. I recall enjoying watching them together and suddenly this young mom sat next to me and asked me about volunteering in Ty Watson House. She explained she was an LPN on maternity leave, but she could easily spend some hours out of the house and that is what she wanted to do. She had experience in end of life care and she had found this kind of work very rewarding. She would love to donate that experience in the form of volunteer hours to Ty Watson House. I must admit I was touched by her intentions. Here I was face to face with a very young mother, who had, by giving birth, just started the precious journey of her child’s life and who now expressed a desire to spend some of her valuable time with those that live at the end of their journey. Somehow this blew me away.
Most interesting in our conversation was that she also wanted to do this for herself. She needed to spend time outside her house, away from household and family duties, to do something else besides daily living her own life. I recognized the same need I feel myself to give purpose to my existence beyond the borders of what is obviously my role and my place. If life treats you well and provides you with an opportunity to extend your abilities and talents and make them available for an environment that would benefit from it, why not do it?
Volunteering is a win-win situation. You give the gift of yourself and in return you get rewarded by the impact of this gift. In Ty Watson House it is an honour to accompany a resident on his or her last part of life’s journey. Whether it is preparing their meals, holding their hands or comforting their family and friends, by the time you go home you feel you have done something good and special that day. It is a great and powerful feeling. Yes volunteers are giving people, but every volunteer will be able to tell you that you also get something very valuable back in the form of purpose, satisfaction and this feeling that you made a difference beyond the things you normally do. It is a warm feeling rooted deep inside you that just makes you feel good about life and about yourself.
From time to time I get asked about volunteering in Ty Watson House. Unfortunately with my focus on fundraising my volunteer hours in the house have been reduced to almost zero. I do know the Hospice Office is doing a great job scheduling volunteers for the house, and I also know they are always in need of people. I was more than happy to give this young mom the Hospice phone number. I admire her for her insight that her life extends beyond the walls of her home and I am sure she will pass great values on to the little person she has set on his way into this world just a little while ago. Whatever she will do in Ty Watson House, I am sure it will be gratefully appreciated. Most certainly a rewarding feeling will come back to her.
That little baby I saw at the Bulldogs game can be proud of his mom, who surely loves him to pieces, but is willing to share her love generously with others she doesn’t even know.
If you would like to know more about volunteering for Hospice or about Ty Watson House and the services offered by the Alberni Valley Hospice Society, please call us at 250-723-4478