Some years ago, I was driving for the hospice in Raheny as a volunteer. Once a week, I picked up someone from home, brought them to the hospice, and brought them back home later n the afternoon. I will never forget my first impression of the hospice: it was one, if not the most beautiful places I had seen in my lift. Then, I wondered why one had to die in order to be looked after so well.
Today, I saw someone asking that question again: Why do you have to be dying to be looked after that well?
If you think about it: the hospice movement is doing exactly the opposite of what the medical profession would argue for: they are spending all their money and all their energy on people who very likely will die soon. They do that in the best way they can and what they can do is really impressive.
I think: you can be looked after that well, even when you are not dying, when people care.
Today, Pádraig is doing all the things many ‘professionals’ believed he would never be able for: he just finished a bowl of soup, he is breathing by himself, the only tube going into him is the PEG for liquids and food, he goes out into parks, supermarkets, cafés – and 28-hour train journeys. Just 5 months ago, doctors wouldn’t even let him go out for a walk in the hospital yard with us.
He can do all those things he couldn’t do just a few months ago because people care.
When people care, things can be done, even when you’re not about to die.