If you told me 10, heck even 5, years ago that I would be working in hospice..

I would have actually LOLed*

 

Five years ago, I was living in the city, doing a job that I hated because, well, I thought that was what being an adult was like. I didn’t think anyone was really happy in their career. After coming to the conclusion that architecture and design weren’t for me, I stumbled into marketing, but I still didn’t wake up excited to go to work every day. Don’t get me wrong, I loved marketing, just not what I was marketing.

In 2016 I found out my 74-year-old grandmother, the woman who raised me, had lung cancer. She was literally the toughest woman I’ve ever met. Her father was a World War II Veteran who fought in the D-Day invasion and died when she was 10. She was raised in a shotgun house in Arkoma, Oklahoma, and was the first person in her family to attend college.

When she finally gave in and agreed to undergo chemotherapy and radiation, I decided to move back home and help care for her. No one understood why I’d leave a “great job” and a city with a bustling economy. I felt in my gut I needed to do it. Looking back, I’m so glad I did. I was able to see my grandmother every single day.

After moving home, I was doing freelance and consulting work when a family friend sent me a job opening at AseraCare. I didn’t know what AseraCare meant, let alone anything about hospice. On a whim, I took a call with their HR Coordinator. I could feel the passion she had for what she did. Everyone I spoke with had that same spark. It was eye-opening. I knew I wanted to chase that feeling.

After I was hired, the first thing I did was visit our Sioux Falls agency. I was able to participate in ride-a-longs and get to know the team. They showed me not only what hospice care is, but how truly exceptional AseraCare is. From there, I learned from some of the best clinicians, professionals, and storytellers what hospice is really all about.

It’s about making the time you have count.

So, that’s what I did. I catalogued each and every second I had with my grandmother. I asked her about her life, her family, her regrets. There is still so much more I wish I had asked her, but I got to know her on a deeper level during those last few months.

I also knew what to do when her doctor said those dreaded words, “curative treatments are no longer an option.” I was able to explain to my grandfather that hospice was not a death sentence but a blessing. Although she took a turn for the worst that night and was not able to begin hospice care, I was able to ease the fears of my loved ones. AseraCare prepared me for that.

My colleagues also prepared me for the overwhelming grief I experienced. Without the support of Angie, Sherrie, Sarah, and so many others, I don’t know how I would have made it through. I will be forever grateful for my AseraCare family and the support they provided during such a difficult time.

Now I understand what a true calling is and I’ve found it.

 

*LOLed: To have laughed out loud