With our series “Our Hospice Heroes,” we want to share with you stories of resilience and courage exhibited by our Hospice of the Chesapeake Team. We hope you will value the insight they provide and clearly understand by hearing directly from them why we consider them our hospice heroes as they care for those living with illness and loss. The care they provided does not stop even during a pandemic and it is more important than ever. This is what commitment looks like.
Today’s hero . . . Roberta, a licensed clinical professional counselor and bereavement coordinator, who joined the Chesapeake Life Center 16 years ago. Here is her COVID-19 story:
A colleague recently said “I am not special, but I feel I have a special place in this world to provide comfort and compassion especially now during these trying times.” This is how I feel — I have never felt the “hero,” the “angel,” or the “how do you do that, you are so special” role. I am fortunate to feel deeply connected to the work I do and to have work to do. I do not have to use full personal protective equipment to minister to the dying. Yes, I have adjusted in the face of this pandemic. To wear a mask or not to wear a mask? This becomes a question in the counseling room, where trust — which includes the transparency of being able to show one’s face and smile to a client — is essential.
Rather than myself, I give credit to my clients in facing this unprecedented crisis… I am humbled in the presence of these true survivors, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to offer presence and validation to them when they need it most.
We have had to flex with major shifts in how we do our work. In-person sessions have largely been replaced by online telehealth encounters, which present their own challenges, especially for children. Some clients continue with face-to-face appointments for valid reasons. People continue to call for counseling support, even in increasing numbers, with the issues of isolation layered over personal grief of losing a loved one. Rather than myself, I give credit to my clients in facing this unprecedented crisis. There are the parents of young children raising them without a spouse in households where access to even the most basic activities has been restricted. There are relatives caring for children whose parents have died. There are those who have lost a spouse or partner facing living alone in confinement. There are adult children caring for parents with serious illness that render them especially vulnerable to this invisible enemy. There are families who cannot hold nor attend a typical, “homegoing” type of funeral gathering. There are grievers who were separated in death from loved ones. I am humbled in the presence of these true survivors, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to offer presence and validation to them when they need it most.
We are very grateful for Roberta for adapting to the restrictions of this pandemic to find ways to connect with a community that is struggling with loss.
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Thank you, Roberta!