Volunteer Spotlight

EOLS Announces Heidi Willis' retirement as Wellspring Music Director after 12 years

Heidi began her stint as the Wellspring Singers Music Director in 2007. After 12 years, she has retired from her mostly volunteer position at the end of August 2019. We are happy that she does plan to continue singing with the Wellspringers at the bedsides of hospice patients. Thank you Heidi for your passion, your humor, your leadership and your dedication to the Wellspring program, the hospice patients, their families and to the End of Life Services mission.

Heidi Willis - Ronnie Romano.jpg

EOLS is pleased to announce that Ronnie Romano has started as the new music director on September 1st. Wellspring’s new music director, Ronnie, has a lot of experience and passion for music.  He has conducted various choral groups and musical shows, played organ and keyboard at many churches, and been an accompanist for such groups as the Middlebury College Choir.  In addition to being a highly skilled and experienced musician, he has a special interest in music as community service.  Attracted by Wellspring’s mission to bring vocal music to the homes, rooms, and bedsides of people at the end of life, Ronnie and Wellspring have come together like old friends. Ronnie, welcome to End of Life Services and Wellspring. We look forward to an exciting and musical year ahead.

Spinning Together; A Volunteer Story

Spinning Together; A Volunteer Story

Last Thursday, I took her to the Twist of Wool Spinning Guild for the last time. Then this week I informed them that she was at the Respite House, every person was surprised and said how well she seemed at Guild. Not one person realized how sick she was.

That is so like "B". She forged ahead, didn't spend time complaining about how she felt, and did the things she loved that she could. And then when she had no more "push" in her, she let go.

I will really miss our Tuesday visits. We would set up our spinning wheels in her living room and spin for a solid hour. "B" would suck down those Diet Cokes and we would talk and laugh. (Okay, I admit, I had one or two DC's in my year there and I enjoyed them)!

Every first Thursday of the month, we would load the spinning wheels and her O2 tanks, sometimes a wheel chair, into the car and drive to Middlebury for Twist of Wool Guild meetings. We were quite a sight coming through the door!

She loved going to Guild, and she was, I think, very pleased with herself that it was she who got me re-involved with them. You see, I was a member of the Guild when my husband was alive in the early 2000's. But after he died, in 2006, I stopped spinning and knitting altogether. It just made me too sad.
So when I met "B", and she told me that she loved to spin and go to Guild, I knew that I had to make that step and reconnect.

It seems perfect that it was my hospice patient who brought me back into that world. I will probably set aside time every Tuesday now to spin, and I am definitely re-joining the Guild.

Thanks for taking the time to hear my little story.
CW

Singing Over; A Wellspring Poem

SINGING OVER

a Wellspring poem by Jack Mayer

He nears the end of this journey,

preparing for the next,

breathing coarse, intermittent,

body tranquil but for fitful breath.

We stand in a semi-circle and sing a hymn,

cocoon a man we know because he is one of us,

and do not know because he approaches the boundary.

Small voices in four-part harmony

fill the dying room, majestic as a choir

suffusing renaissance heights.

I know my part well enough

to be present to the mystery,

to see myself in his place,

to give comfort and receive comfort at the same time.

To attend at the time of dying,

and sing,

is grace made visible,

audible,

palpable.

Celebrating Hospice Volunteers

What if . . . ~Priscilla Baker, Program Director

In honor of hospice Volunteers, Garden Party 5/24/18

What if there were no hospice volunteers?

What if there was no one to sit at your bedside,

Or bring in your lunch tray,

Or drive you out to the lake on a sunny day,

Or read poems, tell you the local news,

Or sing those songs, you listened to in high school?

What if you had to go it alone?

Watching your daughter, day by day,

Grow more exhausted,

Watch the same TV shows, over and over,

Game shows and Gunsmoke,

Watch the same of crack in the ceiling

Wondering and worrying, that it's growing longer.

What if you woke up from your nap

And felt the presence of someone by your recliner,

With nothing else to do but sit with you?

What if new ears listened to the same old stories

And then asked for another one?

What if you dared to talk about how it feels

To have your lifetime coming to an end

Without someone saying, "Don't talk like that,"

Or "Don't worry, nothing's going to happen."

What if you reach out and someone takes your hand?

That's all.

Just takes your hand while together

You breathe in the silence between you

As you drift off to sleep.

A Hospice Heart

~Laurie Borden, EOLS Program Director

We are devoted to our volunteers. You bravely walk into the unknown,

into the depths of the dying process, with your souls open to possibility.

We offer our gratitude for you each and every day, when we understand

how you transform the world of the patients and families you visit.

Love is a sacred action, which comes so naturally as yu walk the path of

a hospice volunteer. There is no greater art, avocation or aspiration

than to touch others with your care, your credibility and your

compassion as we travel on this journey.

Deep within us

beats a home

for our most authentic selves.

Here lives our need

to hold our most vulnerable others.

We meet on the thresold

together

our simple beings, pausing

whispering

listening

awakening

witnessing

until all melts into one

a single hospice heart.

We hope your screens let you seen half a heart or an angel wing.