About 15 years ago a friend suggested that I consider becoming a volunteer with Brattleboro Area Hospice. When I enquired why, she said that she thought I was a good listener. There has to be more to being a hospice volunteer than that, I thought. So when the next training came around, I applied and was enrolled in the 11-week class.
Over that fall I learned that listening is indeed key to the work of hospice. Successful volunteering involves listening to the person you are with who is entering into the final phase of his or her life here as well as listening to that person’s family and friends who are losing a loved one. It includes listening to oneself and being attentive to the thoughts and feelings arising in any given situation. My training taught me to listen by opening not just my ears but also my eyes, my gut, and my heart.
Hospice volunteers are individuals who are present to offer practical and emotional support to people and their families at end of life. We are neighbors accompanying neighbors through the last days, months, and sometimes years of someone’s life.
The training provided by Brattleboro Area Hospice is full and engages participants in thinking about life and death. There are readings and exercises that allow for exploration and knowledge. Professionals from the community present about topics related to the medical, spiritual, and physical care of those who are dying.
Brattleboro Area Hospice is looking to expand its volunteer base in the Deerfield Valley and is planning to offer a training in Wilmington this fall on Tuesdays from 10 am to 1 pm. If you are interested in learning more or would like an application call Brattleboro Area Hospice at (802) 257-0775 or email me at bettina firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brattleboro Area Hospice, Brattleboro