I sit here tonight waiting for my little ones to drift off to sleep (a little later than usual).
I remember more than one person asking me, "How could you ever work in Hospice?" which was usually followed by 1 of 2 comments : "I could never do that. " or "You must be something special to be able to give like that." I always wanted to say that hospice gives to me! It kept me grounded in my faith. Not my religion. My faith.
The death and dying process is really remarkable when allowed to fully exprience it with someone. I promise that if you sat in room full of hospice nurses your faith would be renewed. The stories are nothing short of miraculous everytime. Actually jaw dropping at times really........
Yes hospice as a profession probably isn't for everyone. I would tell you that the reward far out weighed the loss. Yes it indeed gave me more faith than any church service ever could. Yes it gave me more than I ever gave a "client."
So the reflection has a point....this brings me to today.
I get a call from mom (yes mom I know you read this!) that she has signed the paper to have muffie put to sleep. *Muffie is my parents' dog that they have had for probably 14 years* She has been battling some health issues and this last tumor was pretty large and had cause lots of troubles. She had been at the vet for a few days.
So mom calls, upset, crying, that she did not say good bye. Dad, although puts on the tough face, can't bring himself to go to the vet to be with Muffie. Mom can't leave work. Mom feels bad that Muffie is alone and no one said good bye..........so I cried in the middle of Walmart.
And there in the middle of Walmart I offer to go, a few random things in the cart.
I wheel the cart to the check out wondering if it is too late.
So while the happy lady is casually scanning my random items, I call Mark at home, which went like this (remember he knew nothing) "Will you look up the number to the animal hospital?" mark "why" me "Because Muffie's dying" okay crying again. Happy check out lady pauses to stare at the lady on her cell phone proclaiming that someone's dying. Mark "oh. why?' me thinking Jesus just give me the number, like I can have this conversation with happy check out lady staring at me! I really said: "Long story Just call me back with the number."
So I call the Animal hospital and they say....you can come but you need to come now. (It was already close to 4pm)
The lady has me sit in a room and she carries lil Muffie in and what do I say..."oh Muffie you look like you feel like shit." *Okay really Jen that's all you got! No wonder Social workers don't get paid much! So one brief not professional moment first, but then my hospice side kicked in and I thought, when someone was dying and someone needed to say goodbye but couldn't make it we had them call. Even if the person was non responsive we would hold the phone to their ear so the other person could say good bye. Works with people. Why not dogs? So I tell Muffie. "Muff, I'm sorry you feel yucky and soon it won't hurt. It's okay. I am going to call mom she needs to tell you goodbye."
Beautiful process. Beautiful faith.
"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us". ~Robert Louis Stevenson
*The picture is Cohen and Muffie a few years ago....Cohen said to me tonight "Muffie died. Grandma's sad. We said a prayer to Jesus. "Dear Jesus, we loved muffie. I can't remember the rest of it" "mom I bet God has tons of chew toys and chew bones in Heaven. Muffie will love that."
End of conversation.