When trying to determine when they found themselves in a friendship and a partnership and which came first, Jill Madey and Teri Jacobson find it hard to lay down a specific timeline. Their five years of friendship and five years of volunteering, Teri said, just kind of happened.
Both Compassionate Care Volunteers, Jill and Teri meld their professional lives into their volunteer work. Teri, a conscious-living consultant and an end-of-life doula, also serves as a Comfort Touch and Vigil Volunteer. Jill, a professional acupuncturist and an end-of-life doula, shares her acupuncture skills as a Volunteer. Both also provide training for the Volunteer Department – frequently together, of course.
Like most of our Volunteers, both women found their purpose after experiencing hospice care through the death of a loved one. Teri called her experience a very profound transformation. “Hospice is just so powerful. Not just for the patient but for the family, the caregiver and everyone around them,” she said. Jill said the passing of her mother-in-law, who also was her best friend, taught her how to care for people at the end of life. “It was just such a treasured moment with her,” she said. “I do this to honor her and all those who have gone before us with a grateful heart for hospice.”
As organic as Jill’s and Teri’s journey as a team in the integrative arts is, there is one defining moment to which both point as the merging of their two paths into one. Teri was seeing one patient who had dementia. Well, for at least the first 10 visits, she saw the daughter as she was turned away by the patient. Teri did not give up on the patient, who eventually allowed her in to perform Comfort Touch. “Everyone wants to be loved. Everybody enjoys touch. If it took me two months to gain her trust so that we could build an experience, it was well worth it.”
We were always just meant to do life together. We have the same heart, the same mindset. We dance well together.
Soon, Teri brought Jill in to provide acupuncture. It was the first time the friends would provide end-of-life doula care as a team, “It was a beautiful synergistic moment,” Jill said. “That is when we realized together, we are so much more powerful than we are independently and separately. We became entwined in each other’s journey, and hospice embraced it. We didn’t necessarily ask to be put together, but they just started putting us together,” Teri said.
We are fortunate to have the compassionate care and expertise of these two Volunteers and it is clear they feel the same about each other. “For Teri, it’s not just a calling, it’s such a gift she has, a huge talent to just care and love and shine her light on others,” Jill beamed.
“I feel the same about her,” Teri smiled. “We were always just meant to do life together. We have the same heart, the same mindset. We dance well together.”