I adored my Dad. Like many men of his generation, he worked, he came home, and expected my mom to have dinner on the table. My dad was an alcoholic. He was never drunk until I was 17. Now I understand even the years he didn't drink at all, he had struggles with relating to people and feelings. He quit drinking when I was 17 and the dad I adored continued to grow and grow and was the best role model and beautiful person I have ever known yet. I was the first person in my family to got to university. Dad always supported my choice to become a teacher after I got a history degree. Mom was disappointed (she wanted me to got to law school). So once I became a teacher, when I would go "home" to visit it was always Dad who wanted to hear all my teacher stories. When I was sharing with a Cowichan hospice person my struggle with going to Vancouver so often for over a year, not knowing what more I could do since I knew Dad was terminal and he and I were "all good", she said "you need to find meaning in the waiting". It sounded beautiful but I had no idea what it meant. Duncan VIU had just opened so I thought I'd look on their website and maybe take a a course "for fun"...linked to the VIU Nanaimo website and I ended up going my Master's in Special Education. Dad died before I was finished my degree but I know he loves I did it and I am now a Learning Support Teacher. Thanks, Dad, for always believing in my and always wanting to hear my stories about my classroom and my students.
He and my Mom (thanks, Mom, for sticking it out in the toughest years), had a wonderful marriage as seniors and celebrated their 50th anniversary before Dad passed nine years after his initial diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Mom and Dad lived in White Rock, BC. We kept Dad home as long as possible, but in the end, when the cancer had spread to his bones he had to be moved to hospice for pain control and constant nurse care for his urinary and bowel care. It's a long story. I just want to emphasize, the fact Dad and we, his family, had hospice, it was sad but WONDERFUL. We knew Dad wouldn't be with us much longer - but those last weeks were wonderful! My brother ( a chef) was able to bring in Easter dinner he cooked, my other brother the musician brought in his guitar and we sang for Dad, every community - not just large urban centers, should have support and space for families to experience what we had the gift of doing.
On another note, volunteers need to be set up. Not everyone has families and friends to love them at end of life. Volunteers could do that.
I am still working, but when I retire I could totally see myself volunteering to visit seniors.