We all have days that we just want to be over as quickly as possible as well as days that are the best ever and you never want them to stop.
Then there are days like today.
Not a day to hate, not a day to cherish but certainly a day I will remember.
Work was busy, office morale is low, people feel under-valued but life has to go on. We all know that the economy is still shit – people have been let go and the people left behind feel hard done by.
I got a supplier to come in and do something nice for everyone and half the office didn’t turn up. Nice to see the support people…! But it is what it is.
Then this afternoon, I had to go visit a hospice which is supported by the company. First time I’ve ever been to a place like that (probably won’t be my last in either a professional or personal capacity).
I’ll be honest…I didn’t want to go and had postponed doing it for at least two months.
I had no idea what to expect but part of me really didn’t want to go cause you know it’s gonna be full of people facing death in one way or another. After all, cutting through all the bull-shit, that’s what a hospice is there for.
I won’t go into the full details of everything I saw but the key thing I came away with was that life goes on. Yes, life is shit at times and I can’t start to imagine what the people I met today have to go through.
I went into the ‘grieving centre’ – the what? yes, the grieving centre. I walked in not really knowing what I was walking into, it looked like every other room that I’d been in up to that point. But then you realise that the pictures on the walls are generic ‘religious’ scenes…you know the ones – a small hand in the palm of an older, larger hand, pictures of really beautiful, tranquil landscapes and sunsets, etc. And then I was taken into a side room, which looked like any other of the hospice rooms for their patients.
It had this extra door…covered by a large, thick and heavy-looking blue curtain and the bed in the room was very clearly a hospital bed rather than a hospital bed made to look more ‘homely’.
All of a sudden, I realise “shit, this ain’t a grieving centre…this a ‘viewing the dead body’ room!’
The curtain covered the ‘back entrance’ where the body was wheeled in and out…
All the nice things that I’d seen up to that point disappear. The reality of what you’re facing and what the hospice actually is, hits you head-on.
Outside the window to the grieving centre was a small garden and a tree of remembrance – each ‘leaf’ having the name of a patient and how old they were.
A tree of remembrance
That is something I will never forget seeing – that puts all the shit that goes on in life into perspective and actually makes you appreciate the little good things that happen – like a dog who is happy to see you when you get home from work and the fact that someone smiled at work. Shite you might say…but had an impact on me.
The people who worked at the hospice were happy, the patients I met were all smiles (which I couldn’t get my head round!) and it seemed a happy place in the midst of what must be the toughest circumstances.
The staff talked about the patients as having ‘life-limiting’ conditions – not dying, not terminal diseases, not disabled…just life-limiting but not something that stops life going on or making the life that they do have, the best possible.
As someone who has a terminal disease with no cure – it was hard not to project any of my own insecurities onto the situation and yet, looking in on the potential end of other people’s lives wasn’t a sad experience nor (obviously) a happy one but certainly one I won’t forget in a while and made me thankful for the small things that do go right everyday.
Shit happens (as Forrest Gump said!) but life does go on…one day at a time.
Cliche but true.