By Robin Glantz
[F]or many of us, grief from the loss of loved ones can be stronger than ever during the holidays. Hospice by the Bay is here to provide support. The need is great, so we are looking for additional professionals to join our bereavement team.
I hope that my story will inspire others.
For the past few years, I’ve been a member of Hospice by the Bay’s bereavement team. I haven’t always done this kind of work; I used to own a bookkeeping company and had also been a human resources director. People often ask me, “What prompted you to make the change?” “How are you able to do such heart-wrenching work?”
Like many who work in hospice, I have experienced profound loss, in particular the death of my father. Losing him was painful but also life-changing. Before, I had been afraid of death and dying — but something “switched” when I was with him while he was dying; I realized that being with someone at this time is a gift.
I can’t say that I handled my grief very well. I moved too fast and was also grieving the “empty nest” after my daughter left for college.
Ultimately, I sought help, and soon realized that it had been a long time since I had been involved in work that came from my heart.
So I went back to school for my graduate degree in psychology with a vague idea to work in the drug treatment field. But one day it came to me, really as a calling: I wanted to do hospice work.
After completing internships in inpatient hospices, I felt a need to round out my work by helping families and individuals who were grieving. I completed Hospice by the Bay’s Bereavement Internship Program and became a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Today, I work with Hospice by the Bay as a community grief counselor, providing crisis and ongoing counseling to individuals and groups as well as grief education to schools, workplaces and organizations in need. All of these services are available to anyone, whether or not their loved one was our patient.
I get a lot out of my work. Rather than becoming depressed or detached (as some might think), it is uplifting. I get to be a “holder of hope” as I meet people at a critical time of their lives — when they are vulnerable, in pain, and may be all alone with their grief.
No matter how emotional the work is, at the end of the day, it is rewarding to know that I am guiding people when they are rudderless and adrift in an ocean of grief. It is an honor. This work has a positive impact on my personal, day-to-day life as well.
I appreciate life more, because I know that it is short. I make more meaningful choices, treasure “the moments,” and experience an expanded capacity for love.
Bereavement work is not for everyone, but it’s a calling for others.
Hospice by the Bay invites qualified candidates to apply for our Bereavement Internship Program. A part-time and yearlong paid program, it offers highly professional training and supervision.
Candidates must have a master’s degree in mental health, counseling, psychology or social work, and be registered as an intern with the Board of Behavioral Sciences.
If you or someone you know is drawn to this type of work, is mature of heart, respectful, and in search of a meaningful placement, please contact Hospice by the Bay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the right person, helping others through their grief can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. It has been for me.
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