Posted by: soulshinemoments | July 15, 2013


Perspective, it is a funny little thing that occurs in life constantly.  Over the last couple of days, I was bounced to all kinds of extremes of it–both literally and metaphorically. 

I had more training as a hospice social worker on Thursday and Friday.  I witnessed a beautiful love a son had for his dying, 79 year old mother, as well as the love a spouse had for his dying wife. (His eyes lit up whenever he looked at her and he referred to her has his best friend.) Friday, I went to a team meeting for hospice workers and I met with the Chaplain to discuss shadowing him at some point so I could get another perspective of what hospice work is really like, from all angles.

What a kind, awake, introspective, intelligent man this individual is! (He is the fellow, if you remember from a couple entries back, who told me ‘God is going to use you in people’s lives’.) He has his Marriage and Family Therapist degree and has been with hospice for 15 years. He has a strong gift for analyzing family dynamics and creatively coming up ways to help (“bring Gods love” “Offer hope”) to these families. 

He said, “The way we offer hope to these individuals is to create a sense of gratitude in their hearts.  There have been studies that show that there is actual a chemical reaction that occurs when individuals feel grateful for something in his or her life.”

So to do this, for instance, one of his dying patients was very closed off and depressed.  He was able to get this client to open up a little and discovered that he had a love for red roses.  After hearing this, my friend (and fellow MSW student) Liz and the Chaplain are going to surprise the patient with a dozen roses. Perhaps that may seem small and insignificant, but it is hoped that the patient will feel the compassion and love through such a gesture and that can make so much difference in his dying process.

I am supposed to shadow the Chaplain next week and see what his job is really like.  Liz has already been with him and said it was an awesome experience.  She said that he really takes the hospice care-taking roll to a much more personal level in comparison to some more clinical hospice care-taking role (ie, nurse, social worker, doctor).  He introduced her to the clients and knew their story and history.  I am really looking forward to observing him.

I am just so fulfilled in my upcoming internship and possible career.  Liz is so sweet, so intuitive, so ambitious. I am grateful that life has brought me to this point in my career.

“Most people die with their music still locked up in them.” -Benjamin Disraeli

Other way my perspective has vacillated over these vast couple of days in that within one weekend, I have visited both the beach and the mountains.  Jack’s best friend of 12 years moved to Chattanooga, TN six months ago.  His friends have 15 month old, beautiful twin girls and have known Ariel since she was in utero.   They are just good people.  Jack and Ariel were so excited about seeing them before we left Saturday morning.  I definitely liked Rob and Michelle, but had only met them a few times and did not have the history that they did.  But, once we got to their quaint little house with the view of the mountain, I had a really great time.  Jack and Rob cooked all kinds of delicious food on the grill–steak, muchrooms, corn, wings, ETC.  The twins and Jackson played with each other and wore each other out.  It was a blast! I left that trip feeling more connected to Jack and just grateful for my life.

Here are a few pictures from the trip!













  1. Olivia, I love the part about the chapelan, he sounds like an amazing person taking this path is brave, but a very noble path indeed love you Cindy

  2. I have always felt that only the most kind, caring and special people could work for hospice. How needed you are and also how challenging to experience death and dying daily in such a vivid way. You might visit my yoga teacher and her husband’s page on learning to pass gracefully ( You might find something that will be useful to you. Thanks for the follow!

    • Hi, there. Thanks so much for the link. I will check it out.

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