Recently one of our spiritual care counselors visited a patient who lives in his own home and prides himself on his flower garden. On good days when team members visit, he takes them into his garden and names each plant for them, stopping to inhale their scent and admire their beauty.
On this particular day, the patient’s son was visiting and baking challah bread in the kitchen. The patient suggested that he and the spiritual care counselor take a walk in his garden. They talked about how his health was declining and his struggles with changes in his condition. They discussed his life and what brought him joy.
As they walked, the breeze suddenly carried the scent of fresh-baked bread. He stood in the middle of his flowers, tilted his head back, took a deep breath and said, “Ah, I can smell them both together. What an amazing smell!” The two of them stayed in that place for several minutes, just breathing together.
At Hospice East Bay, we know it’s the little things, the small moments that carry lessons in them. The pausing to just breathe. The remembrance of things past. The acknowledgement of beauty and wonder.
Those moments not only sustain our patients and families, but also sustain those of us who work with them. Journeying alongside those who are more familiar with mortality, we gain perspective into our own lives. We reflect on what brings us joy and open ourselves up to be surprised by wonder or memories.
It’s the little things, those small moments, that bring us back to our work day after day. Knowing we make a difference in other’s lives matters. Knowing that the work makes a difference in us matters even more. It’s little things like these that bring us together and enable us to be “here when you need us.”