Monday, July 7, 2014

What is my Volunteer Vocation?

Lately, I have been having this feeling of unworthiness. Through the years I've missed my nursing but more so recently. I thought about volunteering at a nursing home but there could be sickness that my immune system won't be able to fight. The very reason why my doctor put me on disability.

A few years ago I had tried to be a Big Sister but it is not working out. There are few Little Sisters that need help or they are not a good match for me. Although no one said it I know it is harder to match me since I have a physical handicap and mothers are not comfortable with that fact. And that is fine. I am very protective of my own!

I've been researching volunteer websites and praying on it.

When I went to arrange my pre-burial and found out about what happens when a family member cannot afford to bury them or they have no one it has weighed on my heart. I know the church may bury these people and other organizations may step in but I feel something more can be done.

I started researching about indigent burials etc and an idea formed.

What if I could come up with some kind of organization that I can find businesses and people to donate to?I could put my name at all the funeral homes and when God took someone whose families couldn't pay or they were alone they could contact me and then I could help and arrange to pay for their funeral.

I found this site GiveForward. However as I asked questions I realized it wasn't what I was trying to do. It was more for a specific person or cause. My cause is more broader.

I did not know where to start.  My retreat was coming up so I decided to wait and talk to the Priest, Father Neyrey. I prayed that he could give me direction.

God answered my prayer. Father Neyrey was wonderful as always. Some friends told me it was a huge undertaking. Father agreed. However, he gave me some sound suggestions and taught me a few things

He also encouraged me to stay with the idea but reminded me of some things.

First, it doesn't matter what you are buried in as the body will turn into ashes and your soul will leave it. 

Second, anyone can do a eulogy at a grave site and it doesn't necessarily need a service. He even said if I felt so strongly about a person having to have that 'blessing' I could even go to the funeral site and pray for the soul.

He praised me saying I have such a comforting feeling of death that few people have. He believes God is calling me to do something pertaining to death. He delicately warned me I may not be able to help everyone and suggested I start by concentrating on a smaller scale like one poorer parish. 

He discouraged me going to a Funeral Director because he said their business is to get money. He related some history of how eons ago, people were just buried in the ground, with no casket. In certain terms, he implied funeral homes were not necessary.  

He saw my genuine concern and my mind blocking the idea of just burying someone in a hole.So he instructed me to do research on what is required for a casket/urn, talk to the parish director and go from there. He also noted that I won't be able to do everything myself. He gave me some ideas like maybe contact a building contractor who may volunteer to build a casket, a couple of times a year. 

Father told me I need to listen to God. He thought it was a good idea and encouraged me to keep at it but also forewarned that this may be a long process. This burial idea may just be a beginning of something different God has for me. It may not even be what I am thinking. However. I have such a positive outlook on death because of my experiences, I should also consider volunteering for Hospice in addition to or in place of this burial idea. Either way it is an act of mercy. 

Father certainly gave me a lot to think about.

I also had the chance to speak with the two directors at the retreat. I was able to relate to a lot of things they said. I decided to go and at least thank them for sharing their stories and letting them know they spoke to me. 

One was a nurse like I was. We worked the same length of time except she was in Pediatrics and I was in Geriatrics. We related to each other so well.

Both of the directors dealt with cancer themselves or a family member. They faced death like I did. And they both independently, not knowing what Father or the other claimed I would be a good candidate for Hospice.

I went to the chapel and asked God if he was talking to me through them. He is still working not the answer and I'm striving to listen and move along on faith that I am going the direction God is pointing.

I had considered Hospice on occasion. My mom is a Hospice Volunteer and she enjoys it. 

However, I am hesitant. I worked with dying people. I felt so much compassion and I loved these people. However, I get attached to patients. It gets hard to watch them die or they just die suddenly. 

I guess working in a Nursing home is similar to Hospice. Taking care of patients and they do eventually die in the Nursing home. It is a shorter time dealing with Hospice patients.

I will have to deal with death regardless if I volunteer for Hospice or otherwise.

I am still researching the burial idea and am in progress to see if Hospice is for me.

Have you done any volunteer work?  I would love to hear your experience.


  1. I sure did do volunteer work. I volunteered in the Medical Records' Department of one of the hospitals in the area. Of course, that was when I was 18. It further strengthened the foundation for my love of Medicine. I almost went to school to get a degree in that field. The field of Medical Records has changed so much. But there are tons of ways to volunteer in healthcare even without doing it face to face. Keep researching my friend.

    1. Not sure why my response didn't come up. You're awesome! Not sure if I want to go into a hospital with sick people.

  2. I love your new blog design. Very pretty. I have been looking into volunteer vacations. I really want to do the one that is on an elephant sanctuary. I know hospice can seem sad and scary, but I have had some friends work through the organization and just love that they can be the one to love their patients during their final days.

    1. Thank you sweet Chyrstal! Elephant sanctuary sounds like a cool idea. Yea, I think I'll be okay with the patients as well. I just get attached to these people and its going to be hard to let them go but then again I know the feeling of dying that doesn't scare me. I think I'm over thinking lol…I'll let you know how the interview goes. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. Are there any animal shelters near you? If so consider volunteering there. Walking dogs, giving cats attention, filing paperwork, some cleaning. Hard work but very rewarding!

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. I have allergies to dogs but that was an awesome idea that I didn't even think of.


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