I recently attended an in-service for hospice. I was due to get my in-service hours in, and it was a good time, being held on a Thursday evening when the kids' dad takes them to music lessons.
The topic was Pediatric Palliative Care. Hospice for kids. Okay, I thought, this will be so uplifting.
So I signed up anyway, and I am so glad I did. What a wonderful presentation--the speaker was a retired nurse and retired teacher who was doing chaplain work with the dying on a volunteer basis. Someone mentioned how draining the work must be, but she replied that it was something which energized her. Aha, I thought. She gets it--hospice is about empowering people to live.
I came away with a quote which it took me until the second half of my life to learn--Rabbi Kushner, in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said, and I am paraphrasing here, "When you don't know what to say, say I'm sorry and shut up." I am going to try to adopt that as my mantra. We live in a society of too much noise--television, radio, cell phones, constant verbal attack. I want to listen aggressively to the silence.