Climbing the Hill

One cataract removal down, and one to go. After that, one bilateral knee replacement to go, followed by rehab. And after that? Back to my goal of having a wonderful hospice chaplain position (part-time).

Why do I want to be a hospice chaplain? When I trained as a chaplain intern in 2016-2017, my goal was to take my skills and training into a hospice position, which I did in February of this year. I loved working with my clients, even though there were only a few of them. This hospice organization was in startup mode, and was unable to add more clients.

Then my clients were removed from hospice care due to improved or at least stabilized health, and I was no longer allowed to see them. I am very happy for their health improvement, but I miss seeing them.

This is why I am seeking a new position, even though technically I’m still employed. When health conditions showed up, I realized I had to take care of them before I took on a new position.

Why do I want to be a hospice chaplain? I love this work, and was introduced to it in 2014 when my brother John entered home-based hospice care in Orange County (in a previous blog not currently connected to this page). As the family contact person, I met with John along with his nurse each week. I also met his social worker and spoke to his hospice chaplain by phone. I experienced the quality of care and caring that these women brought to my brother’s life, as he lived for seven more months before dying of stage four metastasized cancer.

John’s chaplain came to the graveside memorial service that we held. The social worker and a grief counselor kept in touch with me for several months as I navigated my way through grief, both mine and my mother’s. You see, I was also caring for her three days a week at her senior apartment in Orange County, ever since my father died unexpectedly in May, 2014. After the passing of my brother John, Mom said she didn’t want to live anymore, as she wanted to go be with my dad and my two brothers (Brian had died in 1994 of AIDS-related illness). I learned so much about death and grief during those 17 months with my mom. I knew that my calling to ministry was no longer pulpit ministry, but rather supporting dying patients and their families through grief and letting go.

So, even with the health setbacks, my vision and goal have not faltered. I am grateful to be able to support others in my town through their challenges, health and otherwise. I will continue with this support even as I find my new position. I am here for you.

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