Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hospice Volunteers Share Experiences (Hospice Poem, Video 3:25)

Each hospice volunteer has a unique story to tell.  This is my story poem about my hospice volunteer experiences in Detroit nursing homes:

Reflections of a Hospice Volunteer
By Frances Shani Parker 

I leave my car and walk into a world with many fates.
The people live reality where three words dominate:
“Nostalgia” brings memories that make them question why.
“Delusions” create fantasies that often come alive.
“Anticipation” beckons the beginning of each day.
A visit, party, special newswhat is on the way?

Sedonia tells me stories of how life used to be.
Many things seem different now. She’s almost ninety-three.
Moochie shields unseen friends he pledges to protect.
I wonder if he sees and hears the friends he manifests.

Dexter smiles and says with pride while waiting for his son,
“All my children visit me, and each is Number One.”
Pearl yells, “I want some cake, and bring it just for me!”
She thinks that I’m employed here. She sees me every week.

An empty bed reminds me that someone else has gone.
Next week I’ll see someone new. Life’s cycle will go on.
Juan trails me through each room while planning his escape.
“I have somewhere to go,” he pleads. I stop him at the gate.

I leave this special world today with wisdom strong and rare,
Respecting every circumstance that brought each person there.
Our futures are unknown to us like roads with endless curves.
I drive away feeling good, happy that I served.

© Frances Shani Parker
Excerpt from Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback at many booksellers and in e-book form at Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.


  1. Frances, I'm delighted to find how much we think,feel, and live in this same rhythm.
    Being a Hospice volunteer is truly a Calling!

    Thank you for this poem...

  2. Like you, many embrace hospice volunteering with a passion and view it as a calling. I especially appreciate the win-win experience hospice volunteering provides.


  3. What a wonderful a Hospice volunteer coordinator and prior hospice volunteer I so enjoy when I can see experiences of those called
    to this invaluble service. PL

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.