The cold, hard truth

Branches in an ice storm

I slid. I skidded. I used a ski pole for balance. It was a lousy day to be out and about. But my work requires that, whenever possible, I have to get in my car and drive. Right now it’s not fun. I’m getting tired of driving for a living. And yet… I’ll do it tomorrow. And the next day.

104 degrees and humid. 10 degrees and windy. Rain, sleet or snow…

A former coworker checked in with me at the end of the day… just because she remembered what it was like to be out in the weather. She knew it was a sloppy day with nerve-wracking driving. She said…

Remember… only you can decide when you’re done for the day. One day, you’ll resign for another job or for retirement, and they’ll thank you for your service… hire someone else… and in a month, they will forget all you did.

That’s the cold, hard truth.


You know, there’s words of cynicism there, certainly, but also reality. Those of us who work in hospice are dedicated, focused and caring. We will give the extra mile, the hidden hours, the research into new methodologies and interventions. We’ll create, write, read, and dream. All off the clock, not asking or reporting the time. Because hospice work is a Calling, as well as a job.

BUT… work should not be your life. Even when it is a Calling, like working for a hospice (or a congregation, or a nonprofit.) Family should not always take second place. Your physical health, including getting exercise and enough rest, going to the doctor or dentist, or tending to your mental health are not “maybe’s” in your schedule. They are “musts!” Your supervisor won’t be the one who sits with you when you are in hospice some day, you know.

My arms ache from scraping and shoveling ice and snow off of our hilly driveway. My back is a little jangly from “almost” falls two or three times today. I’m in bed with a cat, an extra pillow and a book. And rest is a very good thing.

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