Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 17

Then I came across a passage on reincarnation. Maybe and the earth, blah, blah blah, blah blah.” It had kind of I lost concentration or maybe I was distracted by the sci-fi quality to it. After reading this passage enough times, book’s large colorful photos, but somehow, I proceeded I began to wonder what Satan was doing during the to read aloud about the ancient practice of excarnation, creation. Maybe he was thinking, “OK, dude, if you are or “defleshing,” in which mourners in Bali would carry going to create this fantasy land, I need to come up with the body of the deceased to the top of a mountain to a place for all my homeys.” While I was happy to comfort be devoured by vultures. Talk about an uncomfortable patients by reading passages about Jesus and his pals, moment. Kind of took the charm away from reincarnation. I could never reconcile how such a popular and beloved Had I just committed the ultimate hospice faux pas? I felt book left the members of my own tribe, and much of the like Alfred Hitchcock—not a caring hospice volunteer. rest of the world, in the dust. While Joe didn’t flinch, I felt completely embarrassed and During nice weather, I often wheeled patients out into bolted out of the room. Certainly, the volunteer on the next the hospice’s courtyard to enjoy the lush and fragrant shift could improve upon the mess I’d made. Rita laughed flowers and foliage. In the company of someone who is as I explained what had happened. “He’s just fine,” she dying, I couldn’t help but have a heightened awareness chuckled. “Thank you for reading to him.” of everything around me. And in that courtyard, listening to a bird singing or the trees’ leaves rustling in the breeze A couple of hours later, as I readied myself to leave for the evening at the end of my shift, still upset by my gaffe, Rita came out of Joe’s room with a big smile on her face and said, “Joe’s gone to Bali, Ben.”  In the coming weeks, I stayed pretty busy during my shifts on the inpatient unit, namely because the certified nursing assistants—we called them certifiable nursing assistants— were more than glad to let us eager volunteers take the lead on the mundane tasks. But I never knew what I’d be asked “ was a remarkable sensory experiences. There, I developed a greater sense of the motion and weight of the air, and the Every once in a while, I’d run out to the Cheesecake Factory to get a decadent dessert for a patient who had a craving for something sweet. Many folks wanted me to read from the New Testament, which became an odd sort of amusement for me, being a secular Jew. I felt like a religious cross-dresser. to do during those three-hour evening shifts. Sometimes I’d type up a death certificate.  “ falling light of an early evening. The courtyard was also a haven for patients who smoked, and while their habit carried with it a sad irony, I could see by their satisfied expressions that each puff was a soothing tonic, and I was glad to help them indulge. Perhaps the strangest request I ever had at the hospice inpatient unit was from an elderly, bed-ridden man with dementia from cancer that had metastasized to his brain. Through his hand motions, I figured out that he wanted me Every once in a while, I’d run out to the Cheesecake to pull the large mirror off the wall in his room so he could Factory to get a decadent dessert for a patient who had look at himself. As strange as his request was, it was simple a craving for something sweet. Many folks wanted me enough. So, Mary, one of the nursing assistants, and I to read from the New Testament, which became an odd managed to remove the mirror from the wall and hold it sort of amusement for me, being a secular Jew. I felt like in front of him. He was transfixed by the image of himself a religious cross-dresser. The Book of Genesis was always and began disrobing and speaking in what seemed like my favorite: “In the beginning, God created the heaven tongues. “Hiz meeka blig her mah doo zah!  Zah! Zah! 17