I have a wake to attend on Friday...

…for a 19 year old girl. She passed away early this morning, while her mother slept by her side. I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s gone – she was on Hospice – dying is what they do… My mom was her nurse, and I was her long-distance volunteer. I sent her cards and letters and whatnot from school, but only had a chance to meet her in person once over Thanksgiving break. We had played “Sorry” together; she had shown me her collection of Christmas angels; she had introduced me to her beloved dog. She had wanted to take me out to lunch over my winter break… we never had the chance. She was sweet and funny and possessed a beautiful spirit. I wish that I could have met her sooner. I wish I had sent more letters. I wish that I had gotten to know her better… I’ve dealt with death before, in its various shapes and forms, but somehow this time feels different. You’re not supposed to die at nineteen.

I know sorry doesn’t mean much at a time like this, but I’ll say it anyway - I’m truly sorry for your loss. Don’t regret the things you never got around to doing, be glad of the things you did together and cherish the memories.



I’m sorry, too. 19 is way too young…

(How does one become a long-distance volunteer?)

Thanks for your condolences, guys.

First, become a Hospice volunteer. There’s training involved, and oodles of laughing and crying, plus a fair amount of soul-searching. I did “long distance volunteering” in this particular case because (a) I hadn’t sought out information on the Hospice programs in Boston but still wanted to be involved while I was at school, (b) my mom had a patient who she thought might enjoy corresponding with someone her age, and © our amazing volunteer coordinator is always looking to put me to work :).

As painful as it is at times, I’m grateful that the people that I’ve seen have been willing to welcome me into their lives. It may sound cheesy, but I get so much more from my patients and families than I could ever give to them.

I’m sorry to hear that, Serendipity.

It reminds me of this horrific story about the fire that broke out shortly after new year in a Volendam (NL) bar. So far, ten people have died from their burns.

The oldest was 23.
The youngest was 13.

Death is a bitch no matter what, but it’s especially grim when it knocks on the door this early.