During National Palliative Care Week 2017 we started sharing stories from palliative care volunteers in NSW, collated by editor and palliative care biographer Ros Bradley over the last couple of months.
Ros asked volunteers if they would share an inspirational moment, a story of resilience, a transforming experience, a special poem, text, image or piece of music.
Along the way she spoke to some 60 of the 1,600 or so palliative care volunteers around the state, with 21 of them sending her contributions that gave us unique insights into their experiences, inspirations and inner life as volunteers.
Here is one of the stories. Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed.
Reflection on Resilience (by Dominique)
The word 'resilience' came up multiple times today in my first volunteer meeting and is, I think, a concept we'll be exploring many meetings from now. I knew I needed to have some time for reflection and introspection after the very real nature of everything we spoke about today.
I've known for a long time that I've wanted to be part of this particular program, and it's been a matter of overcoming various hurdles to be in a position where this has become a possibility. Over a year after first connecting with the Volunteer Co-coordinator and a week before my first meeting with “my” patient and her family, the experience of listening to volunteers sharing their incredible stories has been an inspiration. It has provided me with a sense of the stability, perspective, and selflessness that I can see I'll need to draw upon as I join this patient’s story.
Growing up with my younger sister being quite unwell and often staying for long periods of time in the hospital showed me from a young age how resilient all people can be, especially children. I believe it can be the seemingly unimportant efforts from ourselves that can make a real difference in others' lives, however small. This belief was reaffirmed today hearing about the collective experiences of this amazing group of women and the families they've each had experiences with. Every effort is worthwhile to somebody in some way, and I'm so grateful to have been reminded of that today.