I went to a meeting yesterday evening. A group was gathering together to learn about a program I’ve been interested in for awhile now, but I never thought I’d find a way to get involved myself. I figured time, circumstances, and location meant that my path just wasn’t going to cross this way… but I was wrong. Yesterday evening I was there. I learned about the program. And a new path has opened before me… one that I already know is going to be transformative, but also — I know it’s something I’ve already been prepared to do.
Because I was on the other side not that long ago.
This is a campaign called, “No One Dies Alone” – or simply NODA. Volunteers are rallied together when they are needed to sit in vigils with the dying, so that no one dies alone. For those who have no family, or families who need a little break during a long vigil, NODA volunteers are there to ensure that there is someone present — humans are not meant to leave this world alone.
It has a been quite awhile now since my last hospital stay. I haven’t laid in a sterile room, staring at the white ceiling and walls, while listening to the beep and whir of the IV machine in many, many days. But it is still very vivid for me. If I close my eyes I can still be there… alone. I remember wondering if my heart was just going to give out before the nurse came back and checked on me… How long would I lie there alone before someone found me? I was weak, I couldn’t even move the stupid wheelchair by myself, but I was also afraid — which was much worse than being just weak. It was something that I kept a tight reign on most of the time. My hubby is wonderful at keeping my spirits up, and when he was with me I just knew everything was going to be okay. When I was surrounded by my family, I didn’t feel afraid at all — even when my blood pressure was in the 70s over 50s (not comfortable by the way). It was only alone that I felt fear. Not just because my thoughts were loud and scary, not just because I was worried about what “might happen,” but simply because I was very sick and alone. Dysautonomias do kill sometimes. Doctors don’t like to tell you that, but when you actually know people who are dying and have died, you can’t just ignore the fact. Being alone made everything so much harder…
I am grateful that my body is so much stronger now. I’m grateful that for the most part, Dysautonomia/POTS/NCS and the like aren’t running my life right now. Since no one knows how many moments they have, I want to make sure that I spend as many moments as I can making a difference in the lives of other people. Life is sacred, and people have infinite value. After these last years, I know this as fact, not just because I read it somewhere, or because some philosophy insists on it. I know what people are worth, no matter who they are. This is why I’m also looking into becoming a hospice volunteer. There are LMTs who are able to volunteer their time as hospice volunteers, and in the meantime until I’m certified I’ll be able to use my guitar as needed. The hospice volunteer training takes a bit longer, but it will be worth it.
Between this important work, my LMT schooling, and the prison ministry we’re doing, my free time is now going to be pretty much completely full. I’m thrilled. This is what I want to do. This is how one person can really make a difference in this world beyond their family circle. I only hope others can find out what they are meant to be doing in their communities and do it. The world needs agents of change… and we can all learn to do small things with great love. That is how we’ll change the world. Light and Love… that is what we all need. No one should die… or live… alone.