My mom and brothers and I went to a Service of Remembrance last night for all the people who died last year who were associated with Durham Region Hospice. It was at a small church and was about half full of family members who'd lost someone last year as well as staff and volunteers from the Palliative Care and Oncology units from the hospital.
It was a lovely service, short and non denominational (which I thought was nice and inclusive) They lit candles, recited a few poems and about grief, gave everyone an empty box that went with a song about having a box of love and memories. A minister talked (a little too long, in my opinion, about our journey's through life)
The part that moved me most though was that up in front of the altar were pictures of all the people that were there to be honoured (about 30 or so) Each person was given a flower upon arrival and as their loved ones name was called their families were invited up to put their flower in a vase. And as much as it's expected, it's hard to hear your family members name being called out.
After all the family members had put their flowers in the vases the staff and volunteers were asked to come up and put a flower in the vases for all the people who had passed away in their care over the last year.
I got to thinking about those people; the staff and volunteers of the palliative care unit.
I could think of worse jobs, I'm sure, but this is high on the list. Nobel, for sure, but I don't know how they do it.
They are fabulous people. I can't find the right words to say it well enough. And more so the volunteers. To care for those in their very last days of life - and to care for the ones they are leaving behind. I would be a big blubbering mess every. single. day. And yet they do it, day in and day out with such strength and compassion.
I don't know where one finds that kind of strength but I would love to have even a small piece of it. And for all those who need palliative care, I'm glad there are those out there with that strength.