I’ve been at Zen Hospice Project’s Guest House for 3 years now. I’ve given direct care to about 120 people in their last weeks and days of life. I’ve been bedside with 11 people as they took their final breath. I’ve bathed about 20 dead bodies. I’ve lead about 15 death rituals.
There is the vomit, the diarrhea, the rotting wounds, the pain, the turmoil, the challenging family dynamics, the grief, the fear. And there is the love. The love, the love, the love. The tenderness, the intimacy, the humor, the beauty, the compassion, the transformation, the honesty, the radical acceptance, the profound human connection, and the love. It is an immense honor to be with it all. I am deeply nourished by this work.
I have always found meaningful work in the world, but never have I felt with such passion and clarity that I have found my calling as I do caring for people at the end of life. I am filled with gratitude.