I’m often called a volunteer, but that’s not true. I’m no volunteer, not even an aid worker.
I don’t know how to properly label that which I do. I realized that I can’t be a volunteer who helps hospice patients, the disabled, the elderly. I can write a report, can place myself in someone else’s place and write about that, go to the “front” where there’s danger. Yes, I will be afraid, just like any normal person. But I’ll get over it. But looking into the eyes of people who have only very little time left is beyond my strength. I wasn’t able to get used to in even in three years. Abandoned elderly, disabled kids, the dying in hospices–all of it kills me. I can’t.
But our Lena can. I don’t know how. I don’t know where she gets her strength from.
For example, right now she rushes off to the hospice every day to visit our Lilya who is in the final stage of cancer and whom the doctors don’t give much time. Lena, of course, brings her aid but that’s not what’s most important. She chats with Lilya, drinks tea, helps her with the toilet. Lilya has nobody else, and Lena gives her that which so many lack–warmth and understanding, the sense that someone gives a damn. People die regularly in those rooms and everyone knows that, including the visitors and patients. There were two women in the same room as Lilya, and both left this life during the last month. I knew one of them, which just crushed me. We saw each other only once, but for some reason that conversation is still in my head like a stuck record–it won’t leave.
A friend recently told me that only a certain kind of people can work at a hospice. I did not understand what that meant until recently–and also used to naively believe that my “call” was to see this aspect of life. Well, I’ve seen it in full, and I can say one thing–saw it, but haven’t been able to digest.
But I know that I can tell you about people who can do that.
You and I can make their efforts easier.
The Lugansk cancer ward hospice has been receiving aid from us for a long time. Many of our friends were there, and we know well how hard the nurses and caregivers there have it. It’s not a question of salary, though it’s partly that too. What can I say…The republics have it hard, but nearly all these institutions are well supplied with food andmedications. Many say that the hospitals now feed better than before the “war.” But when it comes to simple household supplies, there are serious shortages, to the point of workers bringing their own.
We try to help them periodically, within our abilities, with detergents (you should see how glad they are to see that!), trash bags, sponges, washing supplies, pails, diapers, etc.
I could also tell you what you and I can do together to help the efforts of people who care about the dying.
Thank you enormously for that! Thank you for being there, for caring!
Thank you for participating in our aid efforts!
Also thanks to those who work in hospices, dorms, retirement homes, orphanages for the disabled, thanks to Lena and volunteers who give aid and warmth to those who have been cast outside the pale of our daily lives.