To the editor:

November is National Hospice Month. Hospice recognizes that death is not a single event, but a process requiring support. How appropriate that Thanksgiving shares time with this remarkable service. Gratitude fills my heart for the nurses, personal care aides, volunteers, and all those who answer the call to be with our friends and family during this cycle of their life.

Hospice provides valuable assistance in the care and decisions needed as families cope with the complex physical, emotional and spiritual questions created while facing the presence of dying. We have not been shown how to do this in our Western culture. Hollywood presented conflicting images and our churches often avoid the deeper fears.

I moved back to my hometown 10 years ago and was hired as a massage therapist for Hospice of Douglas County. It has been a deeply rewarding part of my life. I have learned to support people where they are rather than where I think they should be. I have learned that presence with compassion is more effective than technique. I have witnessed the pain relieving power of the lightest touch on a body weary with pain.

During my time here, I also taught many people how to help others with compassionate touch. So much is communicated in the touch of a hand on a hand…support, love, safety, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

I will be retiring soon. If you know of a massage therapist who might be ready for a life-changing role, please refer them to Hospice of Douglas County.

Lavonne Marie Schildt

Alexandria, MN