“I never have a day when I don’t want to come to work.”
Janie, Staff Member
Profile by Virginia Wright-Peterson
Photo by Vicki De Boer
Never in a million years did Janie think she could work at a hospice. Now she says, “I love it. I never have a day when I don’t want to come to work.” After 34 years working in Human Resources and as a media librarian at IBM, Janie retired . . . briefly. She soon realized that something was missing; she wanted something meaningful to do again. Her sister Julie, a social worker at Seasons Hospice, suggested that she volunteer for Seasons. With a little hesitation, she decided to give it a try. That was seven years ago.
After two years of volunteering, Janie became part of the Seasons Hospice staff as the receptionist. She loves to listen, to let people talk. And she loves opening the mail. “Everyday someone writes to thank the staff for the care a family member receives.”
Janie admits that working at a hospice can be hard, but she is glad that the experience has made her stronger. “You need to be stronger than the person who needs you, but this isn’t difficult. Because of the good training everyone receives, you know you can do it.”
“The families with children hit me hard.” But she has fond memories of families making the most of their last moments together. “Hospice can make happy moments possible” even when life is ending. Janie also fondly remembers saying the Rosary with a patient.
This mother of three with four grandchildren suggests to potential volunteers or staff, “Don’t be afraid . . . don’t be scared away. Hospice work is very rewarding. I found the answer to how I can make a meaningful contribution.”