Perspectives on Life & Hospice

  • Hospice Moments

    Hospice Moments - Inspired by JW

    Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent poems:


    She learned early on not to throw away love
    but rather amass, accumulate, assemble, and ...

  • Hospice Poet Wins National Contest

    Our own Spiritual Care Counselor, Bette Birnbaum, submitted the following poem to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization creative arts contest and won! We are so proud and honored that’s she’s part of our ...

  • Green Leaf Closeup

    The Catalyst

    In biology class, we learn how plants grow. A green plant uses sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into sugars that the plant uses as energy. We call this process photosynthesis, and it doesn’t happen without help. It needs a catalyst, something that helps to ...

  • Hospice Moments - Bless the Beasts

    Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent poems:


    The dog, he knows.
    Because he can’t remember the last time they  scratched ...

  • My Last Supper

    Few of us get to choose our last meal on earth. Death row inmates do, and researchers report that those awaiting execution often ask for classic American comfort food: french fries, hamburgers, steak, pie and ice cream.

    But most of us consume our last meal ...

  • Hospice Moments - Lord of the Dance

    Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent reflections:


    Joe’s Bible is always nearby. It’s either resting in the bookshelf behind his recliner, ...

  • End-of-Life Option Act

    In explaining his recent signing of the End-of-Life Option Act, Governor Brown wrote, “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by ...

  • Hospice Moments - Salvation

    Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent poems:


    As a lass in the pews she warbled the hymns,
    lifting them High from those green ...

  • Hospice Moments - Summer of Love

    Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent poems:


    He promised not to peek,
    and she trusted him—
    the boy from the ...

  • Hindu Dancer

    It Matters

    In Hinduism, there is a spiritual practice called darsan. When we dance in celebration in the temple, in the presence of the statues and images of the gods and goddesses, we make darsan. We make eye contact with them.

    We believe that when ...

  • Hospice Moments - Magic

    Spiritual Care Counselor Bette Birnbaum is often moved to poetry by her experiences with families in hospice. Here is one of her recent poems:


    Like carnival barkers the daughters announced,
    “Come meet our mother, the ...

  • A Physician’s Perspective on Hospice

    I believe that each hospice patient provides me with the opportunity to visit their “house.” I imagine their life as a long house with a door at either end. The house is filled with all of their hopes and dreams, happiness and sadness, disappointments and fears, ...

  • Whatever It Is That I Am

    Today, I visited Mrs. H. We sat on the patio under the shade of three tall redwoods. The afternoon air was soft and warm. Mrs. H enjoyed a cookie and a glass of fruit punch while I read to her from an illustrated storybook. We exchanged a few words about the ...