The Gift of Hospice

When the doctors say, “there is nothing more we can do,” hospice says, “yes, there is—we can provide comfort care.”

While most people connect hospice to dying, I like to think of hospice as a gift. Hospice helps people live as fully and as comfortably as possible after it has been determined that medical treatment can no longer prolong their lives.

I had my first experience with hospice when my step-father became very ill and needed a higher level of care than our family could provide. We reached out to a local hospice organization to see if they could help. They were wonderful—full of expert knowledge and so very kind, caring and compassionate! After such a positive firsthand experience, I knew being a hospice volunteer was a way I could make a difference in someone’s life.

Often people say to me, “I don’t know how you do that kind of volunteer work. Isn’t it hard to sit with someone who is dying?” My volunteering with hospice is not about me. It’s about being with someone, being there for them, and helping them feel compassion and peace as they pass. It’s also about being an objective third party for family members, helping family understand the process, and allowing them to express their feelings when that’s what they need to do.

Whether sitting with someone so their family can take a much-needed break, being a bereavement companion to help ease the pain and loneliness for someone who lost a spouse of decades, or sitting vigil with someone who is near the end of life—the gift of hospice is a two-way street. While I hope to be a small part of the gift of a tranquil passing, being in someone’s life at that time is also a blessing for me.

With hospice, it isn’t about a miracle cure—it’s about the ultimate gift of compassionate and caring human interaction!

By Cyndi Sprague, Vice President, Director of Operations

A long-time hospice volunteer, Mission team member Cyndi Sprague brings to her hospice work the same conscientiousness and empathy that she demonstrates at Mission.

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