Lessons on Living

Tom and Beth on Porch

2020 marks 25 years of Hoffmann Hospice providing compassionate end-of life care in Kern County. As Tom and I reflect on the growth and experiences the agency has had in the past 25 years, those lessons on living have shaped how I view and live my own life.

I’ve learned many lessons on living in the past 25 years here are a few…

  1. Take time to say “I Love You”.
    You never know when it will be the last time.
  2. Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.
    You never know what others are going through in their personal or professional lives. We’re all human and sometimes we take it out on the ones we love the most.
  3. Enjoy the little things.
    Stop and smell the roses, eat the cake, buy the shoes, enjoy a baby’s laugh or even a belly laugh yourself.
  4. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill.
    We all have experience with holding grudges. Sometimes we see people that are still holding grudges as they face the end of their lives or as a loved one is dying. In the end the peace that comes from saying “I’m sorry” or “I forgive” is so much greater a gift. Little disagreements are trivial in the grand scheme of things. Don’t let those negative things be what you remember and hold on to because there are so many other things in life to focus on.
  5. Death does not discriminate.
    It comes for us all and sometimes at the most unfair times. It cares not about your age, gender, education level, income, or color of your skin.
  6. Life is not fair, but it’s beautiful.
    Sometimes even the best people (inside and out) get the worst shake in life. It really is all in the eyes of the beholder. We have seen individuals that have been beaten by every circumstance, but still find great joy and beauty in life.
  7. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.
    Scream, cry, stay in bed or go right back to work. We all deal with the pain of loss differently and at our own times. We don’t simply “get over” the death of a loved one, but we can incorporate someones life into our own in many ways.
  8. Sometimes just being there IS ENOUGH.
    People always want to “do more”, but just being present with someone and witnessing their good and bad days, their pain and joy, and their life and death IS ENOUGH. For so many people just want to be acknowledged and know that someone else was there and cared enough to be there.
  9. Every family has junk! Don’t think you’re the only one. Big or small, all families have a little crazy in them. No family is perfect, what makes you a family is being able to love people through the tough times.
  10. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
    This is one of the lessons on living that is an oldie but a goody, it’s still a great idea!
  11. Enjoy the ride…it goes quicker than you’d think.

I have learned so many lessons on living from working in hospice, but the most valuable thing is to keep learning and enjoying life. Learn from your own experiences and the people that come and go from your life. All you have is today, so make it matter.

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