“He’d sing to me on the phone, it was magic”
Thanks to you, we’re able to support people with all of their needs – spiritual, emotional and physical. Hannah Wilson is a volunteer Pastoral Assistant offering people we care for a space to share what’s meaningful for them. She tells us more about her volunteering.
“My husband, John died at St Catherine’s 10 years ago. I was so humbled by the love and support we experienced that I wanted to find a way to give back.
When John was ill, St Catherine’s looked after him, me and my daughter. We were offered complementary therapies, and the whole atmosphere at the hospice meant we felt safe, held and loved at such a difficult time
I started volunteering at the hospice’s then Day Hospice but when Lisa, St Catherine’s Spiritual Care Lead gave a talk to the patients I thought I’d like to support the work she does, and became a volunteer Pastoral Assistant.
Before coronavirus I’d visit people at home and on the wards but now all my contact is on the telephone.
I’m never quite sure what I’ll be presented with when I ring someone, but I’m there to offer a listening ear, to show an interest and to validate people’s feelings.
People share their fears and anxieties, joy and interests
Sometimes people talk about facing their mortality and how they feel about that, but whatever people want to discuss, I listen with an open mind
It’s a privilege to be given a window into someone’s life
I enjoy making connections and I’m touched by how people, who I’ve never met, are so willing to share.
One elderly gentleman was a jazz singer and musician who’d sing to me on the phone. It was magic – pure magic. Our calls gave him an outlet to express himself and his treasured skill, and it was lovely to validate his interests
Another person talked about the personal cost of caring for a relative and what she had willingly given up to do that
It reminded me of what unsung heroes carers are. Then there was the time a man who was really poorly wanted to talk about some spiritual experiences that he couldn’t explain.
Sometimes people just need space to openly cry, or to talk to someone about their loved one if they’re recently bereaved. Talking and expressing loss and grief is part of the healing process, and not being able to do that can feel really isolating
Volunteering with the hospice has given me an appreciation of what I have in my life and an appreciation of the here and now. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.”