Farewell Melissa Williams

  • by Kate Bowman
  • October 5, 2023

It’s always sad when we farewell one of the volunteer managers from our network. This month it is the lovely Mel Williams from the Blue Mountains Palliative Support Service. I was fortunate enough to catch her just before she signed off and asked if she would mind contributing to a farewell news post.

All the best for the future, Mel. It was wonderful being a part of the network with you.

Hello everyone,

Kate has asked me to share some reflections, as I am finishing up as Volunteer Manager for the Blue Mountains Palliative Support Service. I had hoped to put something incredibly eloquent together, but as it happens of course I am running about like headless chook trying to wrap everything up because my kids are on school holidays and Wednesday was meant to be my last day (it’s now Friday, and I am still tying up all the loose ends)! … it goes without saying this will not be particularly eloquent or considered therefore… So, what to say, where to start?….

I want to say thank you to you all, for making me feel so welcome in the group. I have loved the chats, relatable anecdotes from the field and laughs we have shared, in particular the opportunity to do this in person at the Managers Conference in Orange last year.

I am so proud of the professional and compassionate way the volunteers approach providing support to clients at end of life and I have been very proud to be a part of this. I was going to give some examples of things the volunteers have achieved, but, I realise there is no need, you all know these stories already, because of course your volunteers are also offering these gifts to their community too.

I am stepping away to move to a part time inpatient social work position, because whilst I have really enjoyed this work we do, the service needs and deserves someone who can offer more hours than I presently can give it.

I have learnt that I very much enjoy working with volunteers and until I took up this position, I don’t believe I truly appreciated the immense value they so generously offer to our community.

Kate asked me especially to include a quote. On my last home visit in the job, a client read to me from Walt Whitman “I have resigned myself to the dusk,” saying that was how she currently felt. I thought that was so beautiful…. One of my favourite quotes in relation to this work, is the one that goes something like “they won’t remember what you said… but they will remember how you made them feel”. I think if we can keep this present in mind as much as possible, we will not go wrong when it comes to approaching our work in this profound space.

A million thanks to you Kate, for being the “Manager of Manager’s”, you do such a wonderful job and I’ve appreciated how supportive and approachable you are! And, best wishes to all of you for the future.

Mel Williams x

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NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteer Services – December meeting & Christmas lunch

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