Facing Fears to Help Patients
Posted by Marlene Delaney
Since my husband died, I have been knitting and crocheting healing shawls and baby blankets for a charity group associated with the University of Chicago. U of C is where my husband underwent his cancer treatment prior to entering hospice care with Midwest CareCenter. But the leader of our group is nearing retirement and we are less active, so I've decided to focus my skills on another charity group – Knit Wits at Midwest CareCenter. The group creates comfort items like blankets for patients throughout the organization.
After contacting Volunteer Programs and Community Boards Director Lisa Dye and in turn, Volunteer Administrative Assistant Linda Moore, I started crocheting a lovely lavender lap blanket for Knit Wits. And as part of the process of being a volunteer, I was asked to attend volunteer training. Volunteer training is held every couple of months and consists of about two hours of training, discussions, questions/answers, and a tour of the facility. The training, discussion, and Q&A were easy. Having had personal experience with hospice care, there were no surprises with what was said.
But then came the tour. My husband did not die in the facility in Glenview. He died in the lovely facility that was formerly operated by Midwest CareCenter in Skokie. So I was apprehensive to actually see the newer facility.
Was it going to be better than the Skokie facility so that my opinion of my hospice experience would change such that I felt shortchanged?
Or would it not be as nice, so I would have less enthusiasm for maintaining involvement with the group?
Or would the whole experience of visiting a hospice facility overwhelm me and bring my grief back to the surface?
The reality was that the Glenview facility and former Skokie facility were very similar. Though the outsides were quite different, inside the same loving, giving, caring environment exists in Glenview just like it did in Skokie. Of course, there are improvements since the building was designed exclusively for Midwest CareCenter and opened just three years ago, but I didn't feel shortchanged or disappointed.
And my grief didn't overwhelm me either. I will always have some sadness and grief in my life because of my husband's death, but I felt okay returning to a hospice. It reminded me of what a good experience we had with Midwest CareCenter.
So as I begin my new role as a volunteer for this organization, I plan to finish the lovely lavender lap blanket soon as my next step.