Have you ever noticed that the word HOSPICE includes the letters H, O, P & E… or the word HOPE. These four letters just seem to jump off a page when I read the word HOSPICE. The letters are even in the correct order! Not only can one find the word HOPE in the word HOSPICE, one can also find the feeling of HOPE at end-of-life in Hospice Care.
One on-line definition of HOPE from www.dictionary.com says HOPE is “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Everyone needs HOPE. One can not live without it. (See previous blog, HOPE in HOSPICE: Oxygen to Our Souls.)
But as death approaches, HOPE must be re-framed. No longer is the HOPE for cure and another year on this earth. HOPE instead transforms and focuses on comfort; time with friends and family; or sitting on the deck and watching a sunset.
Last October I had the privilege to speak and to be a vendor at the annual Alabama Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (AHPCO) Conference at Panama Beach in AL. On my vendor table I had different colored wine corks. I asked conference attendees to finish the sentence, “Hospice is ______” and to write their response on a cork. At the end of the conference, I went down to the beach; arranged the corks in the sand to read HOPE and took photographs.
Today I found one of my HOPE photographs and “inked” in the letters S, I, C. Now the photography actually spells HOSPICE. Maybe this picture isn’t worth a thousand words but I do think it is worth at least two dozen!