Thursday, December 12, 2013

It's a new year for Hospice...

Full newsletter here:
This week marks our first anniversary of welcoming patients at the Martin-Linsin Residence. Read more about it in our latest newsletter:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Through Eyes of Hope: Thoughts on True Celebration

2013 Tree-Lighting Homily by Pastor Linda Haight

shine, for 
your light 
has come, and
the glory of the Lord
rises upon you. See, darkness 
covers the earth and thick darkness is 
over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and 
his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, 
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look 
about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your 
daughters are carried on the hip. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb 
and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.
60: 1-5

There is a commercial currently running on TV that begins with a statement about our eyes being wonderful things and continues to explain that these wonderful eyes can see the light, from a single candle, miles away. What really strikes me about this commercial is that in order to see the light of the one candle so far away… they must first turn the lights off on the many football fields that mark the distance between the seer and the candle. Many lights extinguished so one can shine more brightly. 

I love this time of year when we place lights everywhere. We light up our homes, our yards, our streets, and our neighborhoods. I love to bask in the glow of these lights that surround us.

Today, we come to add even more lights to our neighborhoods as we illuminate this tree decorated with the memories of our loved ones… and as I thought about this moment I reflected upon the fact that not all of these lights are happy and festive… some are painful and full of fear. 

As I reflected upon that realization, I thought about what it truly means to celebrate this holiday season. The world tells us that this is a joyous time and that is how we should act, no time for tears or sorrow. The world tells us that this time is filled with love and that is what we should feel, no time for broken hearts or missing loved ones. The world tells us that this time of year is filled with peace, no time for anger or fear. But then, we face the reality of our lives and begin to wonder what we do with all those feelings that we are told do not belong in the “Christmas festivities.” 

Harold Kushner has written, Religion is not primarily a set of beliefs, a collection of prayers, or a series of rituals. Religion is first and foremost a way of seeing. It can't change the facts about the world we live in, but it can change the way we see those facts, and that in itself can often make a real difference.”  

John 1:1-5: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The fact remains that our eyes are wonderful things and as I get older, I find that I need more and more light and sometimes more and more distance, to see clearly. Allowing the eyes of hope to walk through this season is like adding the right light and a little perspective to our circumstances. 

No disrespect to the Hymn, “Silent Night,” but the days, weeks and months proceeding the night, that these lyrics herald, were anything but silent: A young woman filled with only faith and a baby, her betrothed husband confused and scared, an overwhelmed innkeeper, fearful shepherd, an angry King, confused wisemen… Where is the joy, the love, the peace? Wait. It is coming. But we may have to extinguish a few artificial lights to find it, and we may just have to look through our wondrous eyes of hope to see it.
Ann Weems sums this thought up best in her poem titled: “Not Celebrate?”

Your burden is too great to bear?
Your loneliness is intensified during this Christmas season?
Your tears have no end?
Not celebrate?
You should lead the celebration!
You should run through the streets
to ring the bells and sing the loudest!
You should fling the tinsel on the tree,
and open your house to your neighbors, and call them in to dance!

For it is you above all others who know the joy of Advent.
It is unto you that a Savior is born this day,
One who comes to lift your burden from your shoulders,
One who comes to wipe the tears from your eyes.
You are not alone,
for He is born this day to you.

In the cacophony of the world, a Great Light is given. In the chaos of life, Light shines through. Looking through eyes of hope, may our hearts embrace a new celebration. Let your light so shine. Amen

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Death: Read All About It...and be blessed

Books, Books and More Books
By Marsha Rivers, Hospice Director of Development and Community Relations
In our latest Hospice newsletter (hitting mailboxes this be posted online soon), I promised a list of the books I’ve been collecting on the topics of dying, death and bereavement. I’m still working my way through them, so don’t look for detailed descriptions on this list. I’ll come back later and embellish. For now, background and impressions: 
The two I mentioned in the column were:
Sacred Stories: What Hospice Workers Know That Can Change Your Life by Jean R. Linderman. I highly recommend this compilation of accounts from Hospice nurses, social workers and volunteers, which provided diverse perspectives about death. The author’s brevity made it manageable to take in a few accounts per night and then “sleep on them.” 
Blessing Our Goodbyes: A Gentle Guide to Being with the Dying and Preparing for Your Own Death by Kathie Quinlan. This book was a gift from Linda Quinlan, Kathie’s daughter, who was a favorite professor-turned-colleague of mine at Roberts Wesleyan College. Kathie gracefully yet passionately makes the case that death that deserves to be discussed and accepted as a natural part of life. Beauty and healing await us in these difficult conversations.
Other books on my shelf (in the order I obtained them):
Befriending Death: Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying by Michelle O’Rourke. I ordered this book as soon as I accepted the position working for Hospice. Henri is one of my heroes. If I were Catholic (he was, I’m not), and if he were to be deemed a saint (I already do, the Catholic Church has not…yet), I’d pick him as my patron. Not only do I identify with his writing, his faith journey and his personal struggles (particularly his melancholy, although this might surprise the people who say I smile so much), but he even proffered lovely and much-needed advice to me (and the masses, pardon the pun) about that second-only-to-death taboo topic: Money. Just a few weeks prior to my job change, I had sat in on a webinar hosted by the Henri Nouwen Society on my hero’s “Spirituality of Fundraising.” Some people might call those concepts mismatched, spirituality and fundraising. But both are integral to my life and career.  
The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life by Ira Byock, MD. Hospice of Orleans’ Executive Director Mary Anne Fischer handed me this book on my first day here. It got relegated to the bottom of my to-do pile as soon as I saw the events calendar. But now that I’ve gone public with this list, and with Hospice events soon taking a few weeks’ hibernation, I’m motivated to dig into what looks to be a real eye- and heart-opener!
Hospice, A Labor of Love by Glavan, Longanacre and Spivey. Getting to know the Hospice organization and philosophy, I dreamed up this combination of words myself: Hospice, A Labor of Love. And then, as I often do, I Googled it to see if someone else had already thought of it. Of course, they had. A minister, a nurse and a writer. Sounds like the start of a joke, right? No—a beautiful book, by the looks of it.
Saying Goodbye to The Iris Lady: A true-life novel by Marilyn Smith Neilans. I bought this book by a woman with Albion connections at—where else?—Bindings Bookstore, in Albion. Even though this account of her mother’s life and death in Williamsburgh, Virginia, fills a healthy 385 pages, perusal suggests it’s a quick and enjoyable read. And I do love my hometown connections.
Midwife for Souls: Spiritual Care for the Dying by Kathy Kalina. Loaned to me just last week by our head Hospice nurse, who herself helped deliver my babies at one of the local hospitals. When the birthing wing at that hospital closed, Mary came here, joining the throngs of people who identify the analogous relationship between the beginning and ending of a life. Even though this is my most recent acquisition of the bunch, I suspect I’ll be reading it soonest.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November is National Hospice Month

We began our observance of National Hospice Month with our Annual Memorial Service on Sunday, November 3rd at Christ Episcopal Church in Albion. This year’s event was held in conjunction with the All Saints Evensong Service featuring the Genesee Deanery Episcopal Choir, directed by Allison Metcalfe. Pastor Linda Haight offered the following meditation on behalf of Hospice; we also read the names and lit candles honoring all Hospice patients who passed away 9/16/12 – 9/16/13. We have extra copies of the service bulletin for anyone interested. Simply call our office at 585-589-0809 to request your copy.

This sermon was heavily based on a sermon given by Graeme Lamb and he should get most of the credit for the following words. His entire message can be read at:

The Genesee Deanery Choir sang at our Memorial Service.
We are here today, joined together in the common bond of grief to remember those for whom we have died this past year. In many ways the hardest part of grief, is the remembering of those who are gone from us, yet today we gather specifically to remember our loved ones, whether family of friend, neighbor or colleague.

Take just a moment to look around you. This room is filled with others who have lost loved ones in their lives as well. None of us here today is alone. That statement may bring particular comfort to any who have come here today on their own. Although we grieve for different people, our grief is shared. A Honduran proverb says, ‘Grief shared is half grief.’

Pastor Linda Haight
The time of grief and mourning can be an uncertain time, both in terms of its longevity and also in knowing how we or others will react. C.S. Lewis observed, after the death of his wife, that he was resentful if people asked him how he was as he often wanted to be alone in his thoughts and didn’t know how to even begin to answer the question, but he was just as resentful when people didn’t ask after him, observing that no one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” And when we are in the grip of this fear/grief/anxiety/ we often react to life with uncertainty. 

Akin to the story I read this past week about a great composer, the story didn’t mention his name, but I learned that he raised a rebellious son. This son would often come home well after his father and mother had gone to bed. Knowing his father would be listening, the son would go to the piano in the hall and very loudly play the scales, do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti… Then scamper off to bed with a smile on his face.

The great composer would toss and turn in bed trying to overcome his anxiety over hearing the unfinished scales echoing in his head. When the urge became too much to bear…the great composer would get out of bed, go to the grand piano in the hall and strike the final do…to complete the scales. Satisfied he could then return to his bed for the comfort of sleep.

During grief, we often feel like the music scores in our lives are not finished. The melody is incomplete and we are gripped by grief and fear. Grief is, in one way, a costly consequence of love. The missing note created by the loss of a love. The missing note created by the regret of things left undone. The missing note of dreams left unfulfilled. The writer, Hilary Stanton Zunin observed that “the risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief.”

We grieve because we feel the pain of loss, but we also grieve because of the strength of our love for the person that we have come here to remember today. That love continues and grief does not diminish it and often in the early months after death we feel that love even stronger than we did before. The only way we can avoid the pain of grief is by also avoiding the joy of love. And so, what brings us here ultimately today is not grief, but love – love for the person that has died, love that carries on in spite of their death, love that will carry on.

Thankfully, with love there is always hope, hope that the notes will again ring complete…hope that the music will again sound sweet…hope. My hope is found in the love of God for us all. A love that never diminishes and never dies because it is a love of the Creator for his created children. My hope is in the promises given by God through Christ that when we die, he will come to take us to be with him. This completes the music in my heart. Fills the voids with melodies and relieves my anxieties. My hope comes in the promise that those who morn will be comforted.

Today we are not alone. We meet together to share our grief, to share our love for those we have gathered together to remember, but we are here also in this building, this special holy place, a symbol of God’s love for each one of us, here or absent, a symbol of God’s desire to be deeply involved in each one of our lives.

We are here today, to remember the music goes on, to remember we are not alone, to remember and continue to sing in the midst of sorrow, To love in the midst of loss and to gain strength in the midst of our own weakness.

The American poet Robert Frost said,
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. God longs to be with us as our life goes on, to show his love for us and to transform us – to turn our sorrow into songs, our mourning into dancing, and our tears into joy.

Remember you are not alone, Hospice, friends and family, and most of all God is here if you are struggling to find a completed melody.

Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti…..Do…May the scales of our lives once again become complete. Amen.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fall brings opportunities to "cruise in," run or walk for Hospice

Hospice of Orleans will be the beneficiary of two local fall festivities. Both events are open to the general public.

First, Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Home of Albion will present the 1st Annual Auto Show from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 29. Merrill-Grinnell can accommodate up to 100 classic cars in its lot at 12 Ingersoll St., Albion. Funeral Director Rebekah Karls said she got the idea for this event from colleagues involved in “Hotrods for Hospice” in Rochester.

“We’ve got plenty of parking spaces right on our property,” Karls said, “and this is something different from a lot of the other benefits we have going on locally. Hospice is such an important part of our community. We wanted to find a way to support it.”

The auto show will feature food, music, a 50/50 raffle, and trophies for the classic and custom cars, trucks, and motorcycles (best in show, best paint, fan favorite, etc.). Click here for more details and contact info.

Runners/walkers line up to start the Brown's 5k a previous year
Also coming up, on Oct. 12, will be the well-established Cross-Country 5k Race and Memory Walk, hosted by Brown’s Berry Patch at 14264 Roosevelt Highway in Waterport. The race, which starts at 10 a.m., invites runners and walkers to enjoy the fall foliage during a brisk (or leisurely) stroll through the woods, orchards and fields of the Brown farm. The Rotary Club of Albion co-sponsors the event, which features a professionally sanctioned and timed 3.1-mile course, as well as a 1-mile fun walk option.

“This will be our 17th year of hosting this race and we consider it a privilege to help support our local Hospice,” said Margy Brown. “It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning!” Click here to download a printable registration form.

Hospice of Orleans is grateful for organizations such as these that make our mission possible: To embrace those facing advanced illness with optimal levels of comfort, compassion and expertise.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Coming soon to a mailbox near you...

...a new Hospice Newsletter! Admittedly, it’s taken a little longer than we planned to deliver our “latest and greatest” to you, but our new Development Director in on the job (see page 4) and we’ve worked out some “kinks” from our newsletter processing system, sovoilĂ !here it is, featuring some of these headlines:

- Volunteers: The Heart of Hospice;
- Keller Goes “Above & Beyond”;
- Martin-Linsin resident, 97, exclaims:
“If you can’t be home … be here!”
- Memorial Gifts (January - June 2013);
- And more!
(This is the electronic version. Paper copies will be delivered via USPS in the next week or so.)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wonderful day of golf and fundraising for Hospice yesterday! Ideal weather, generous sponsors and players, great camaraderie among the golfers and volunteers. Thanks, one and all!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Having fun at the Fair this week and at the Golf Course next week! Come visit our booth at the 4-H Orleans County Fair -- near the giant pie plate, south side of the exhibitor building. This Sat 7/27 at 4 pm, 4-H'er Mandy Armer will auction her lamb and donate the proceeds to Hospice. (Thanks, Mandy!) You could also come golf with us at Hickory Ridge on Wed 7/31. Just a very few spots left -- going, going.... give us a call before they're gone! 585-589-0809.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ducks Ahoy Race July 4th, Lyndonville

Plans are going swimmingly for our annual "Ducks Ahoy" race at the Lyndonville 4th of July celebration!  It's even great weather ...for ducks. Please stop by, say hello and purchase a duck ticket or a family of ducks.  Our volunteers will be at our booth from 9am until 3pm.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hospice of Orleans is excited to be participating in the Strawberry Festival parade this year.  Make sure to look for our float, this year featuring a salute to our wonderful volunteers!  Then please stop by our booth, where you will have an opportunity to purchase tickets for our "Ducks Ahoy" fundraiser, which will take place July 4th.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We have the following positions available:
RN Position- A part-time RN position is available.  Applicants must be willing to work all shifts with a commitment of 8-12 hours per week.
HHA POSITIONS – One full time position and additional part-time positions are available.  HHA certification is preferred; however CNA certification is acceptable with willingness to complete additional training.  MUST BE WILLING TO WORK NIGHT SHIFTS. 
Please send resumes to Hospice of Orleans, PO Box 489, Albion, NY  14411 with completed application from our website

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Per-diem openings for RNs at the Residence. Must be willing to work all shifts and be able to commit to at least 8 hours per week

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Martin-Linsin Residence is open and accepting applications!  If you would like to speak to someone regarding this care option, please call the office at 589-0809.