Carol Finke, Hospice Care Coordinator for the High Peaks Hospice Warren County office, signing in CEU participants at a High Peaks Hospice bereavement workshop.
“We have this human desire to feed and nurture people when they are sick, but sometimes the body just doesn’t want food anymore,” Montbriand said. ““The quality of life issue becomes dominant. What I want for them is a peaceful death and as much family support as possible.”
The nature of Montbriand’s volunteerism means he often gets to know people who are close to death, and there are emotions involved in that which can be difficult to cope with.
Understanding the process of death helps him get through it, as does allowing for time to grieve.
“You don’t really know about dying until you get there,” Montbriand said. “We’re here to go through the mourning process, too.”
Jane Turlouw is also a volunteer for High Peaks Hospice, but she specializes in bereavement—helping family and friends of the deceased go through the mourning process.
After taking a post graduate class called children and death, Turlouw found she was interested in the topic and went back to school to get a graduate degree in counseling.
She has been a part of hospice care ever since.
For many grieving is a personal process, one that Turlouw approaches by only being as involved as the people need her to be. A part of that is letting them know that the pain they’re feeling is normal.
“You help people grieve by listening to their story—letting them vent, letting them talk, letting them relive the experience time and time again,” Turlouw said. “It’s helping them normalize their new life, their life without this partner.”
Turlouw worked in hospice in New Jersey for 20 years, and volunteered for High Peaks Hospice after moving to the area.
She said she loves the work, and that the people she’s helping have had a profound impact on her life.
“I feel that the people I came to know have given me more than I’ve given them,” Turlouw said.
For information on hospice care, volunteering or to make a donation, visit www.highpeakshospice.com.