Keeping Perspective

Tomorrow my two best friends are hosting a small baby “sprinkle” to celebrate our twin boys. It feels so amazing to be at this point, with a healthy pregnancy, two babies on the way and my closest friends & family nearby.

A year ago I honestly wasn’t sure we’d ever get to this point again. That was dark time for me personally. One that was consumed with worry, anxiety, sadness and fear. It was around this time last year that I realized I was quite literally obsessed with my fertility or lack there of. It was all I thought about, talked about and even dreamed about. And it was draining.

I knew I had to do something to break out of my own head!

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My aunt had previously told me about how she started volunteering for Hospice in Cleveland and after hearing her describe her experience, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Have you ever had something call to you over and over again, so much so that you cannot keep ignoring it? That’s how I felt about volunteering for Hospice. It was something that just kept creeping up into my thoughts.

I kept putting it off, citing my stress around infertility as a reason to not take on anything new. But once I thought about it, I realized volunteering was actually EXACTLY what I needed to stop obsessed about myself so much, so I signed up to begin volunteer training.

I am so glad that I did because being a Hospice volunteer as been the most rewarding and uplifting two hours I spend all week. I chose to join the Threshold Choir for my volunteering. Each Tuesday a group of ladies meet at the Hospice center and sing at bedside for Hospice patients. We sing soft, sweet, lullabies for patients in varying stages of death.

Sometimes they’re alert and singing along with us, while other times they are close to passing and our songs are meant to let them know they are not alone. They say hearing is the last sense to go before death, and I’ve witnessed first hand patients, who have not responded to family in days, open their eyes and respond to our music. It’s a powerful moment.

At first I thought volunteering at Hospice would be too scary and depressing for me. That it would only add to my anxiety and stress. Oddly enough that has not been my actual experience at all. It feels like the biggest honor ever to contribute to making someone’s end of life even a tiny bit better. I always leave feeling so happy and at peace.

Plus the women I sing with are some of the sweetest, most uplifting people I have met. I’ve had to take a leave until the babies are here because I can’t stand for two hours, and they surprised me with baby gifts for the boys and many for Lila too.

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And when it comes to my own selfish reasons for signing up to volunteer, I will say it worked in helping me see the big picture of my life. I became less bogged down in the day to day happenings of my fertility and noticed my existing blessings even more. It also helped renew my courage to go on pursuing growing our family, because I saw how important family and children are to patients at the center.

Hospice is always looking for volunteers, so if you want a way to give back that is insanely rewarding, please look into your local organization. Volunteers help in a variety of ways, including meeting 1:1 with patients to talk or provide companionship, relieving a caregiver so they can get a few hours break, singing or playing music, cutting hair/doing nails, quilting or even arranging flowers for patients rooms.

I’m so grateful for my time at Hospice. If you have any questions about what it’s like to be a volunteer, please feel free to reach out!