I once worked with hospice for almost six years and while there I found…sprinkled amongst all the expected hardships and heartbreak…some of the most beautiful, strange, moving, transformational, and mysterious things I’ve ever experienced. (And I’ve seen a lot.) This discovery floored me so one of my first impulses, naturally, was to try and talk about it with other people. I needed to find out what they’d seen, compare notes. See if anybody else had ideas about what was going on.
I tried to bring it up with everybody–family and friends, random cashiers, unsuspecting people sitting next to me on airplanes–but the response was almost universal; squirming, uncomfortable, deer-in-the-headlights silence. Still, it wasn’t till I noticed them all sidling toward the doors that it hit me no one else wanted to talk about it like I did. In fact, far from being interested most people behaved like I was trying to sell them something unclean. All it took was that one, simple word, hospice, for the front door to immediately slam shut in my face.
And no matter how many times it happened I’d still bounce off the wall again in surprise.
How can they not be curious about something as big as dying, too?!!
Finally I figured, since polite company banned me from chatting up the topic at potlucks and birthday parties, I’d try sounding it out here instead. (And if I inevitably stray into other offbeat topics from time to time…like the possibility that fungus has intelligence, or that first morning urine could be a healthful beverage, or about the tiger penis I once found pickled in mixed alcoholic beverages…please forgive me. I can’t help myself.) I’d love for you to join in. I could use help figuring out what to make of some of this stuff.
Welcome to my world.