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The Hospice Love Phenomena 
Started by eKIM
14 Nov 2012, 1:08 AM

The Hospice Love Phenomena

With regards to the topic “Thinking Of Those Special Few”, I found your insight to be very illuminating, Plum 1. 

As a hospice resident support volunteer, I have noticed this “LOVE PHENOMENA”, over and over again.  I have a hard time explaining this phenomena, because it operates at a multitude of levels:

  • Between residents and their family and friends
  • Between residents and the dedicated staff of caregivers
  • Between residents and the volunteers

The common denominator, of course, are the residents.  Someone once told me that we have two childhoods and one adulthood.  As children, we tend to be very open and honest without the need for facades or pretensions.  During the middle years we are, to say the least, complicated. 

At the end of our lives, we regain the simplicity that once was our birthright.  The facades and pretensions have outlived their usefulness.  We shed them as a snake sheds its skin.

Once they are shed, we are then open to give and receive love just as innocently and purely as when we were babes.

Yes, the aged and infirm are vulnerable and need to be cared for, up to and including feeding, bathing, changing of undergarments, hand holding and comforting.  They unwittingly elicit from us, a tender and loving response.  On a subconscious level, it regenerates the love we experience when caring for our own children and/or grandchildren.

This “LOVE PHENOMENA”, is not a one-way love.  And, as you describe, Plum 1, in your own words you say, “they now clearly and spontaneously spread the energy of gratitude and love with even greater intensity (I love you!) It is as though they are claiming this most basic and needed energy of the world.

Whenever I enter our hospice, I feel this LOVE.  It is palpable.  It radiates from the walls and ceiling.  It is as though, as people pass through the doors, they are enveloped in so much LOVE that they cannot take it all with them.  That which remains, melds with all the other great LOVES that lovingly linger.  And there it is, Plum 1, an anecdotal example of what you call, “this most basic and needed energy of the world”.

I feel blessed to experience this LOVE in this wondrous environment.  As a bonus, this LOVE stays with me and enhances all of the other loves in my life.

The concept of “giving one measure, and being rewarded a thousand-fold” always seemed to be hyperbole – that is until I started volunteering at hospice.  The small things that we do in service seem but “one measure”.  The love that emanates and enfolds us from that small measure given, is the thousand-fold reward.

-      eKim

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Reply by Plum1
14 Nov 2012, 3:00 PM

Good morning eKim,
Thank you for this very rich, sensitive and heartfelt reflection on your experience. It really speaks to the truth that if we want to be in touch with what is most real, most central, to human experience, we find it in a place of vulnerability which brings forth great LOVE.

 Being with those who dying or very ill, we are stripped of any illusion of dominant power or pretense. It is only what we carry within that can be shared. We can no longer think of overcoming death, but only of embracing Life in the moment, and living that moment the very best we can. What emerges is LOVE. And we can often sense that the Source of this Love is beyond ourselves.

The dying person is aware that time is limited and wants to share what is most important - truth and love. Those in the "caring" role, know that each moment with this person is absolutely precious, and they wish also to share what is most important of themselves. There is a reciprocity, a mingling, of what is most beautiful and core about humanity. It is a great gift to notice what is happening, and to celebrate it with thanks.

Sometimes, the dying or very ill person is not able to be in touch with, and share, this core of themselves. But I have seen the transformations which can occur when those around understand, and continue to bring Love. I am deeply moved when a softening begins to happen, and the heart of the dying person emerges in all its beauty.

Yes, as you say, LOVE is palpable not only for those present on a continuing basis, but for anyone who moves through such an environment. In the hospital where I have volunteered, visiting family have said that when their loved ones were in an area other than palliative care, they discovered that if they took a walk through the palliative care ward they experienced Love and Peace which then allowed them to carry on with their Presence to the loved one. Now many people would find that difficult to believe.

How privileged we are to have such experience! I wonder whether others are experiencing the same, and would like to share.

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Reply by eKIM
21 Nov 2012, 11:41 PM

I really enjoyed reading your perspective, Plum1.
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