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Showing posts from September, 2009

What is That Black Cat with Wings?

I am currently enrolled in a 16 hour Hospice volunteer training program with the intent to serve as a Reiki and pet therapy volunteer. The first six hours of training consisted of five units covering the dying process, volunteer parameters, caregiver roles, special populations, and legal and organizational procedures. In a session often punctuated by our own personal, sometimes emotional disclosures, Ann, the Volunteer Director, softened the clinical descriptions of "the death journey" with poignant patient anecdotes from her own experience and Hospice literature, revisiting the phenomenon of fading earthly consciousness teetering between worlds as we prepare to die. Patients, open eyed but not fully present, often enter audible conversation with loved ones who passed on before them. Debbie, my friend of 40 years, described her fascination watching her father just before he died; he stared into space and engaged in animated dialogue with his mother, who had died fifty years …