When people ask where I work, they often pause when I reply and sympathetically say it must be so upsetting and sad for you, I don’t know how you do it…
I can not deny it is an emotional job, and heart breaking at times to see what these families are going through, but being there myself I understand their pity was not helpful…...it was their strength, encouragement and confidence. Reminding me my love was important, I was enough, I was doing a great job and it’s ok to need help.
Most of the staff and volunteers at Beaumond House have been touched by the care or lack of care of a loved one, making this role much more than a job. We all want to make a difference and I feel we do so every single day.
Its not the best paid job but sometimes I feel lucky as I feel that may attract people whose priority is money not the patients. Working here makes me appreciate what I do have, what is important in life and in death. To be loved, to be happy and to be valued.
The warm feeling of pride putting on the crisp blue and white stripped tunic, name badge, ID, pen and my pocket book knowing the patients have been cared as I would has been a rare feeling in my experience. I can leave work behind knowing they are safe and supported. We don’t always get it right, but it is not through the lack of trying, and we reflect on these occasions and learn from it. Patient’s feedback is so valuable… we all want to get it right.
I made a promise to myself that I will always listen, and I mean REALLY listen, to the spoken word, the tone of voice, the facial expression and their body language. I don’t need to have the answers I just have to be actively listening. Most people have someone they can turn to but when feelings and thoughts are hard to share with a loved one in fear of upsetting them or saying the wrong thing, I couldn’t feel more privileged to be there, to help them feel safe and not alone with their thoughts and feelings, It’s a new experience and one most don’t feel comfortable talking about.
I feel stronger than I have ever been, I am no longer frightened of dying as I have seen it is that ‘fear’ that is hard to bear. I am comfortable with any practicalities, conversations or silences and I have learnt I not need to have all the answers.
Living with a terminal diagnosis would be easier if it was not such a taboo subject…. Let’s not wait for life to get easier before we start living.
Kerry Truelove, Healthcare Assistant - Beaumond House