A beautiful summer morning saw me, a mum with three children make my way into the local library to collect some books. Little did I know that I was going to stumble and make it a part of the dance of my life. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the advertisement for the role of a biographer for Eastern Palliative Care. The memories of me sitting at the bedside of my father as he took his last breath came rushing through and yet I was helplessly drawn to initiate contact with EPC. I have often wondered what drew me into wanting to be a biographer for a person at end of life stage. Was I willing to re-live the pain, the loss and the experience of loneliness or did I innately resonate with the words of Bruce Rumbold’s book titled ‘Dying as a Spiritual Quest’? A theme echoing through spiritual literature of all religions is that a spiritual journey begins with a call that must be answered.
An intensive, well structured and in depth 12 week training course, filled with sensitive humour and support was offered to all volunteers as they choose to embark on their roles in a society that conspires to keep death at the margins of our awareness. Listening to my clients narratives, I began to lose myself and in that process began a journey of discovering myself. At no point in the beginning had I ever contemplated that giving away of ourselves could translate into such a life giving experience.
A journey that began as a biographer for EPC has been instrumental in informing my vocation as a Pastoral/Spiritual Practitioner companioning those at the end of their earthly pilgrimage. If I could describe my experience of volunteering at EPC, I would say it has deepened my spiritual discipline. As Guru Nanak, the tenth Sikh guru expressed, “Let the devotee serve in such a way that he dedicates his life to the One to whom he belongs.” With immense gratitude in my heart I would like to thank you: Krystal, Nikki and Pen for your encouragement and support as I continue my journey of learning to listen more deeply offering a ministry of presence with grounded love.