Brookdale Hospice Volunteer Spotlight: Emily's Story

transitioning adult parents to senior living

Emily admits she was nervous on her first day volunteering with Brookdale Hospice – signing up to spend time with people who are dying was scary. But she trusted “God to equip me however He felt best.”

That day she met Pat, a 90 year old woman whose head permanently tilted down over her left shoulder. Emily quickly realized the best way for her to communicate with Pat was by sitting on the floor. It only took a few moments for the women to hit it off.

Emily’s relationship with Pat grew so close she calls her “My Pat.” The two spent hours together. Sometimes they would read scripture and sing hymns, other times they would venture out for ice cream.

“My favorite time was when my Pat and I walked to the ice cream shop a few doors down from the community, one warm August evening,” said Emily. “Her face, that giant smile, the wonder of being able to choose from 12 different ice creams and however many toppings they had – I have a lot of special moments with these ladies, but that one was by far the best.”

Emily was by Pat’s side when she transitioned, an experience she says was a privilege.

“I had no doubt she was heading into the Arms of her Father, so her death was bittersweet.  She was surrounded, right to the end, with people of faith and deep love for her.”

While she grieved the loss of her beloved Pat, the experience taught her she was strong enough to take on new patients. Emily is currently spending time with three Brookdale Hospice patients and is hoping to take on a fourth.

“I just love loving on them! You know how intoxicating it is to have someone just sit and listen to you? That’s what I do for them.”

Like other Brookdale Hospice volunteers, Emily credits the experience with changing her life. Building relationships with people walking on the edge of life has taught her to live in the moment.

“I spend more time looking at the flowers, and less time taking pictures of them with my phone. Getting outside of yourself and pouring into someone else is food for the spirit.”

Thank you, Emily, for your commitment to Brookdale Hospice.

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