Written by Meghan Gardner, CEO of Guard Up
As many of you know, outside of my work with Guard Up, I also volunteer with Hospice. This has been a deeply moving experience for me over the years as I strive to be present with those who are navigating their final days.
On a recent visit to a care facility, one of my Hospice patient’s friends was sitting at the breakfast table, talking with agitation… worrying about something. I couldn’t make it out entirely because he was mumbling. But there was a moment when he looked at me and said clearly with some trepidation “It’s done. It’s over. It has ended.” I leaned forward and touched his hand gently and said “It may be ended. But all endings also bring a new beginning. And so we can start over and try something else.” He paused and then his eyes went wide and he smiled. He actually clapped his hands together and said: “Yes we can!” I smiled at him and watched him become lost in thought again. But he seemed to be in a less anxious state.
I don’t know what happened inside his mind. But I happened (with luck) to say what he seemed to need to hear for that moment. I don’t know if it will last long. But I felt like those words were as much for me as they were for him. Sometimes we need to see the end of something as also the beginning of something else. We have all had moments like this in our lives when something important seemed to end… or change into something we didn’t foresee or desire. It can cause us to reel with a sense of loss. It can make us feel uncertain about the future. It can make us question so much that we felt we had control over.
In hospice, I work with many people who are going through various stages of loss. This can manifest as the loss of their physical well-being, their mental faculties, and even their lives. The pain of loss (and of change) can be very difficult to navigate. Humans, due to their very biology, fear loss. There are no simple solutions to the pain. No easy salves for the heart in mourning. But there is one thing we can do to help us through those dark and difficult times: We can lean on each other.
When the end of one time brings about the start of another, we can reach out and touch a hand. We can take a moment to breathe and be with each other. And we can start over… together.
As our heroes know, we cannot take on big challenges alone. We must call to our allies and friends and move forward together. This is the greatest request we can make of each other and our greatest gift to give each other.
Throughout your living adventure, I wish you the strength in these times, to reach out… as the friend in need or the friend giving presence.
None of us need to be alone.