Working in hospice is a trip. Some days are really hard and I’m thankful to have coworkers and some friends who get it.
Death is an ever looming presence in this job and sometimes when a patient dies it hits like a gut punch.
Most people don’t get it, the typical response is “well they were on hospice so it wasn’t unexpected so why are you feeling ___________?”
Well yes, they WERE on hospice.
But also, NO….
I’m one of these lucky social workers who have quite a vivid imagination and this works to my advantage and disadvantage. While I can empathize with the patients or their families because I can try to imagine what they’re going thru (to the best of my ability) but unfortunately when they pass, I can also rabbit hole on that experience as well. We don’t always KNOW and when someone is alone at that moment, we never know. Was it quick? Was it painful? Were they scared? Particularly right now when it is hard to see patients in homes and facilities, as a social worker or a chaplain. Sure- there’s some ways around it if things are “imminent” but you don’t always know. Sometimes it’s more rapid than anticipated or a complete surprise. I think about it too much for my own good, probably. It goes downhill from there and snowballs, but I personally take solace in the fact that I still care this much. But not with all patients. Not that I don’t care for them all, but I’m sure there’s some projection, transference, something that makes some harder than others. Maybe it has to do with how long you work with someone. Maybe they remind you of someone: consciously or subconsciously, or they represent something or someone we fear or worry about. Lots of possibilities. Maybe it simply has to do with my control issues. My version of denial of my own mortality. I’m not sure really. But regardless, some days, some patients, some deaths, hit harder and last longer than others.
Keep doing the good work. That’s all we can do.
Surrounded by the ever present Spectre of death…
Mortality itself has haunted since the 11th year-
Family & friends dying like the Hemingways and Fondas having a competition…
Addictions and violence permeate a life… a society… a culture.
Supporting those you love,
Facing my own fears;
Tasked with aiding those in grief…
A lifetime of training?
They don’t tell you the right things to say…
Or even the wrong things to say.
“It will always come in waves… they just get further between…”
Weak tea for the knock kneed.
Birth to death and all between;
Beautiful acceptance to righteous anger-
Fuck this mortal coil.
I haven’t really had the chance to do much as far as blogging lately, I have lots of excuses; the job, the partner, the kids, the promotion ;), the gym, the tv, the birthday, whatever; I could go on and on…But I shall not digress.
I got news recently someone that I loved had passed away. It is oddly still affecting me but I am not sure of the effect yet. I am still processing. Mostly it is feeling like a morbid curiosity that I can’t resolve because I don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle. I am not sure how I should feel which further confuses the fact that I am not aware of what I am feeling other than the physical effects. I have been hyper-focused on the unknown details which truly are irrelevant. But the relevant details of my own life feel almost peripheral. Mostly it is physiological. I locked my keys in my car yesterday, I asked my boss a question and immediately forgot his answer resulting in me having to ask again (a midst his laughter of my spaciness.)
It took me a couple days to realize what was going on with me.
It’s strange to grieve something, someone whom you don’t feel like you should grieve about.
It’s odd how one’s mind processes things.
But it is Spring now, Ostara. Ēostre. So I am going to take this time to bury any negativity that might be residual, as they are buried. It is time for new starts and the closing of a chapter to make way for a new one. Like picking up a book you stopped reading and coming back to finish it, so you can fully commit to starting a new one.
Beers in the bathtub
My whole life I have been susceptible
To feeling the world move;
Just by being near you,
The enormity of it.
I learned to dissociate;
Separate myself from it.
I put up Pink’s wall
Learned to shut it out
For fear of being destroyed.
I remember back in another life:
Times when thoughts were fleeting
And I understood what Barrie meant
When he said fairies were only big enough
to feel one emotion at a time.
My momentary instances;
Perceptions of feelings,
When coherent thoughts
Were meaningless and
When the world;
Was too big to contain
In my chest
And I knew
Oh I knew
My heart would explode
From the overwhelming love!
But by grace it would dissipate.
Lucky for me.
And it is echoed now
In the pendulum’s swing-
Such a visceral sadness
In thinking of her.
I feel through you
Such a compounding misery.
My alleged “gift”
Neil was right you know-
“They don’t teach you what to say…”
I grow weaker and weaker trying
To subsume within,
My compartmentalized arks,
Shielded from my sentience.
Fiona said she ‘just wants to feel everything’
Well, she can have it.
Please just take it,
Before I am consumed.