Community Volunteer visiting palliative care patient in their home

I have been a volunteer for three years and have an abundance of rewarding memories.

It is a real honour to be accepted into a person's life at such a vulnerable time

The trust needed to allow a stranger to enter their life at this stage of the journey, I feel would take a lot of courage.  I first met Joy in the late stages of cancer.  One of the complications for Joy was the loss of sight: so I feel trust would have been even more difficult for her.

During our first meeting, I let Joy know about myself  thoughts and feelings.

Joy had requested a volunteer to do Reiki and Guided Visualisation.  We settled in for our session.

I noticed paintings of seascapes in the room; these I used in the visualisation and tried to bring back the experience and enjoyment of the beach.  After the session Joy said how calm she felt as if she had really walked along the water's edge.

We share many hours together and peaceful inner journeys.  I had a few days away down the Coast, staying in a cabin on the beach.  Walks gave me the chance to observe the colours of the sea's changing mood, lichen on the rocks and sea life.  All the visual sights I could take back to Joy, but sense of smell has the strongest of all memory triggers, so I gathered shells, driftwood and seaweed.

Our next visit was with Joy in hospital.  We had our usual catch-up, then a session.  Afterwards I gave Joy the bag of sea collections.  Joy buried her face in the bag and drank in the smell before feeling the sea gifts.  She said: 'Thank you, better than any posy of flowers'.

I did not see Joy again, but her gift to me was to observe the beauty of Mother earth as if for the first time.


View more stories...

Calvary Health Care Sydney group volunteers