“Life leads you here”
I have never heard a child saying, “I want to work for hospice when I grow up.” I certainly didn’t. My path took me from college into the mortgage industry where I had worked my way up fulfilling multiple roles in the corporate world when my mom got sick with cancer. This led me to my first experience with hospice. My siblings and I took turns caring for my mom, I was young, scared and trying desperately to do my very best, to care for her. I reached out to a hospice nurse who heard the concern in my voice and came right over (without my asking) to be there for the last moments of my mom’s life.
Being born in Madras and living in Central Oregon for years, my path led me to volunteer at a small non-profit in Redmond where I learned about the resources within our Central Oregon community and how to have difficult conversations with people in crisis. I left my career in banking and dove in head first. Every day, I am grateful for and humbled by the woman who reached out to me in 2014 and said I would be a good fit for Hospice of Redmond.
This is the greatest job I’ve ever had. I started my journey working with Hospice of Redmond as our Transitions Coordinator, working with people in the community who had challenges from life-limiting illnesses, but were not ready for hospice. That position was rewarding and allowed us to support so many individuals and families in our Central Oregon community who just needed a hand up to live their everyday lives.
Before working in that role, I was not aware that a Transitions program even existed, and now I am one of the biggest advocates of the program. I have seen how it can help so many people, whether it’s getting someone into an assisted living facility, providing them with resources in the community, getting them connected with a volunteer who can visit, and even ensuring they’re getting appropriate meals and living a healthy lifestyle. I have family members who have been on the Transitions program and benefited from the volunteers and resources that are available.
One gentleman comes to mind when I think about our Transitions program and all we have done within our community. We met a veteran who was blind, lived alone and needed assistance. He did not have family support and he lived in a home that he could not take care of due to his blindness. We were able to get him connected with a Veteran Service Officer and the Veterans Affairs Administration who was able to get his service connected disability through, get him into a facility where he could live more fully and with help. He ended up being able to get surgery and can now see and live his life. That’s what we do, and we get to do it.
Now I am the Operations Manager for Hospice of Redmond, and I never thought I would have this opportunity. Life leads you here, and it’s an amazing thing. Had I have known, I would have said as a child, “I want to work for hospice when I grow up.” At this point in my life, I realize this is not about me, it is about helping someone else. I’ve met some of the most incredible people and seen some of the most powerful love stories. Many people fear death and its challenges, but through it all I have gotten a greater appreciation for life, death and love and seen how it can bring so many families together in trying times.