You Don’t Need a Reason

Hospice volunteers get the big question all the time: Why? Why do you do this? It must be so hard… Why would anyone want to sit with people who are dying?

Here’s why: I dunno. We just do.

Mostly, maybe, we’ve discovered that hospice volunteering is not only a great way to give back to the community, but also changes people’s perspectives on life.

Click here to read more:

Volunteering: Minor Commitment, Major Return 



Owed to You

what does the world owe you?IMG_4869

sleepy one, restless under goose down and lavender

do you wish for a rainsoaked sportspage to protect your sleeping face?

hungry one, how will the gifting gods please you?

you, backing away from a holiday pheasant, roasted, plum sauce soaked

do you need a plum to cheer you, half eaten, discarded wrapped in napkins? would that satisfy?

you are offered every day, the light, the air, that red bird, that neighbor’s cat and more

you are offered every day, those branches, that water, a path to walk and shoes to make the walking better

you are offered, you decline, your nose tilts up, face arches away

it isn’t much, you say, you want to see the world

blind to the world before you

for all you are given, your heart burns for better, much, more

cherished one, be grateful

one day the wind will rise and the sun will die and the flowers will crumble away

even now, the great ball of burning slinks into the shadowing woods and a cold breath of autumn bears down

weighted like a rainsoaked woolen cloak draped over your soul

and you are missing all the gifts in the world, because you waited for the world

to give you more

Winter Birds

blue jay shutterstock_46837495

Loved ones lost are always near

Somehow they always find us here

A certain flower, make of car

A train at night, or falling star

They shake us from our winter frost

Reminding us of loved ones lost

These little signs that come so far

Flash like moments where we are

Though we toil on our own

They tell us we are not alone

— from Winter Birds, by Rob Moore


As I Listened

By Molly

As I listened to the notes of Hallelujah Hallelujahlift off the page I realized the symmetry in my story, in my experience, in my small existence and that of the spiritual journey. Christmas is coming! We begin “nesting” preparing for this grand birth of our lord’s son Jesus Christ. All the rooms are cleaned the lights are hung presents are prepared food is set beds are made. Just like the week before Teagan’s birth. Déjà vu but why is it that after 29 years of preparing for the birth of Christ is it only now that my mind has finally grasped the concept, the Joy of baring a son to the pain as he suffered the worst loss. People tell me it is the worst loss, the loss of a child. We prepare ourselves spiritually, we celebrate the birth annually. We move forward to prepare ourselves for the suffering and then burial of our savior. Only now do I notice the silent pain of the mother in the story. Only now do I too suffer with her.

10 months of preparation – one week of finalizing details. The birth story, five days- four nights- three nurses- 2 parents- one child; no partridge no pear tree. A humble celebration filled with sorrow and joy. A place we call home, sadness surrounds there are gatherings of people, food, and cots. The procession lay to rest my child. Eternal love, until we meet again in the heavens above. This is not goodbye, I promise to hold your place in my heart. Twelve Months One year, we begin again.

It is the story of our imperfect life with our perfect angel. Only now do I realize it is not our story, it is the spiritual journey of life.

Recommended Reading: A few new books about hospice, death, dying and living on

book journey book life and death book hospice isn't

An important part of the human experience is in sharing that experience with others. We hope that by sharing our stories, others will know more, perform more effectively, see the coming storm and protect themselves… and we know that when we open up a window into our past to help others, it helps us, the storytellers, to process our own experiences and to heal. Fairview Home Care and Hospice recently shared the titles of three books written by people whose loved ones received care through their organization.

Full disclosure, the third book is mine. You should read them all. If you want to read Hospice Isn’t a Place, just let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

Cynthia Heelan’s book, A Matter of Life and Death, is unique in the fact that she not only tells her story, she poses questions for the reader to reflect upon at the end of each chapter.  Her book begins at the time her husband Richard was diagnosed and ends with what grief support practices she has found helpful after his passing.    

Ruth Halvorson’s book, A journey of Grief, Gratitude and Grace, takes the reader through a day by day account of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of her husband, Loren’s, experience of encountering end of life issues as well as the emotional and spiritual impact this experience has had on the entire family.  

Julie Desmond’s book, Hospice Isn’t a Place, It’s People, includes facts and instruction as much as story – hoping to help people realize they can do this. Julie was also a hospice volunteer for 6 years before caring for her father in our program. 


Ruth and Julie’s books can be purchased through .  Cynthia and Ruth used Kirkhouse Publishing Company.  Orders can be placed through them as well. Julie’s book can also be found at

Tea All Afternoon

When someone is suffering, What is the “right” thing to say? When someone is grieving an unimaginable loss, what are the right, polite, appropriate comments that work in this situation? Maybe, some say, it’s better to say nothing.

Maybe. But remember that “no words” is very different than “no show.” Whether you know what to say or not, showing up matters. First, show up.

Next, realize that you cannot possibly know how another person feels, so avoid saying you do.

After that, say what you feel. Put your pride aside and be vulnerable. After all, grief is a raw emotion. Be honest. Be raw. Be kind. Or be quiet and just listen.

Here are some of the beautiful, right words heard recently:
“He was a good man.”teacup
“He was a generous man.”
“I knew him and I feel a great loss.”
“A fine send off.”
“In a few weeks, I will pick you up and we will come back to my house and drink tea all afternoon.”
That last one, that’s my favorite.

Rise Up Against Cancer – online event

This online event was in my inbox this morning. Looks interesting. Note: requires membership to The Intelligent Optimist.


Rise Up Against Cancer




Date: June 11, 2014

Location: Online*

Time: 11am – 12:30pm Pacific Time

Price: $10 – FREE if you become a member

(See details below)





When you think “cancer treatment,” the terms “chemo” and “radiation” are probably the first words that come to mind. But those treatments can be crippling and exhausting. If less invasive treatments were available that were equally effective, would you go that route instead?


Our newest online event is inspired by the story of Gemma Bond, who was diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer in 2011 and decided not to get chemotherapy. After researching the alternatives and discovering that many oncologists would opt out of chemo, Gemma’s daughter, Laura Bond, decided to share her mother’s story, and the alternative path she chose, with the world.


Health coach, journalist and author of Mum’s Not Having Chemo, Laura Bond will show you how to take action and heal yourself of cancer. Her online event includes advice on health and food, but there’s much more. Bond also shares the importance of attitude and taking pleasure in your daily life.


If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or are curious about alternative healing paths, this event is for you. Replace the fear of the unknown and traditional treatments with empowerment and confidence.


Sign up today for these short and affordable online events. Can’t make the live sessions? Don’t worry: Recorded sessions are sent to all registrants. 



Want to receive this event and others like it free? Become a member, and receive 6 issues of our bi-monthly magazine, a free course, and free access to our frequent online events.


You’re just steps away from living a more optimistic life. Sign up here