I worked two shifts at hospice over the weekend. Over the course of 7.5 hours, I think I welcomed and screened only three visitors, and two of them were visiting the same room. Nine of our ten beds are occupied, so it made me wonder, “Where are all of their families?” Is it Covid-19 or the Stay Home order that is preventing them from coming? As long as they are on our designated list, they are welcome to turn up at any time of day or night.
I also wondered if perhaps these names on the list were the biological next of kin, but not really close to the person in the bed dying. It’s hard to guess what those final few days or hours will feel like. It’s impossible to know what we will want or feel when the time comes. I’m pretty sure I will want some company though!
Hospice is a very calm and peaceful place, especially since the rooms are very private with big heavy doors. For most of those hours at the front desk, it was very, very quiet. Thanks to YouTube I found some jazz music to play in the front foyer, but I kept turning it further down, quieter and quieter. I didn’t want it to feel intrusive or inappropriate.
I realized, not for the first time, that I find complete silence quite intimidating. Even if we don’t have music or TV playing in our home, there is always the sound of traffic rumbling outside, or the budgie chirping, or the dog rustling around, or the trees blowing against the back deck…I think I take comfort from the knowledge that I am not alone and that life is going on around me.
For our residents at hospice, I hope that they are not like me, and that they are comfortable being alone. The thought makes me sad, but perhaps it is their choice, you never know.
So, here is my question of the day: Do you think you would prefer company and chatter/music OR silence and solitude when your time comes?
Answers on a postcard, please. Oops, I’m dating myself! Okay, please reply in the Comments section below if you feel so inclined. No judgement!
You can always reach me at www.juliecryns.ca