I volunteer for Northhaven Hospice, Whangarei.
I volunteer as a biographer to patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have only a short time left.
What is your touching moment?
The patients are usually quite depressed facing their situation. The telling and recording of their stories really help them have a ‘good death’. By sharing their heavy burden eases their depression, their pain whilst at the same time leaving a legacy of a life well lived that won’t just be forgotten. When I hand over the completed biography, which usually includes many scanned documents and photographs, they are often moved to tears, with sighs and comments such as ‘now I can go in peace’.
Especially rewarding are those who have suffered abuse in childhood, who finally can tell someone they can confide in their innermost thoughts, after never telling anyone for all those years. Their sense of total relief is very satisfying as if a weight has been lifted from them and they can now go peacefully on their ‘journey’.
What would you consider as the biggest benefit of volunteering?
Helping those facing death through the recounting of their lives.
What does volunteering mean to you?
Satisfaction helping others less fortunate.