“Senior Discounts Las Vegas” recently invited hospice experts in Las Vegas to share their thoughts during National Home Care and Hospice Month. Steve Lodesky, a chaplain at Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care, wrote about how he helps Solari patients and families cope with end-of-life issues. His piece so eloquently expresses our Solari philosophy of care that I asked him if I could share his words on my blog. I hope Steve’s message will inspire you as much as it did me!
Hope, Dignity and Love
By Steve Lodesky
Chaplain, Las Vegas Solari Hospice Care
Being born into life is already a huge miracle — we’ve won the lottery, you might say. And then we grow into unique human persons; each of us is one-of-a-kind. Most of us learn to treasure life and love and our loved ones. But if we live long enough we also know we need to come to grips with the flip side of the coin — with the inevitable losses, the decline of our health, and the decline of pretty much everything else that’s precious to us. It’s been said that, “No one gets out of here alive!” For me, the beauty and dignity and wonder of our lives only come to full expression when combined with hope. We hope there is more than this. We hope we’ll see our departed loved ones again. We hope the sound and fury of our lives signify something, and not nothing.
No matter how we understand “God” or “life after death,” such beliefs are critical to real hope. As a hospice chaplain, I don’t spend time trying to define such mysteries. But I always encourage people to have hope. “Yes, your life matters!” I’m part of a team of professionals that responds to the needs of the patient and family with the best care we can provide. At times, however, the only thing we can do is to be with a patient and family — to be present, to keep vigil. There have been times when I was the only person present for a patient’s transition. And there have been times when I was the only one keeping vigil for hope, dignity and love. But that’s okay. It’s my job. It’s also a privilege and an honor: “Yes, you do matter. And it’s gonna be okay!”