I was at a hospice recently to attend a service. It was my first time there although my sister has been there a few times. We were there to attend a remembrance service to honour those that have passed away recently. The service was held at the front lobby which the emcee described as a sacred place. There were names of those who have passed on a large banner against the wall. While my dad passed away at home, the hospice provided support for us.
After the service, I chatted with someone who lost her husband. She told me this was a very special place. It was small (only 1 floor) and there is a volunteer staff that cook homestyle meals daily. She talked a bit about the wonderful staff and referenced back to the lobby as sacred and special. I thought about all the names on the large banner and figured that was what she meant. She then said the hospice’s philosophy could be summed up with this: “You come in through the front door and you leave by the front door.” When someone dies at the hospice, the body is carried through the front door. The staff wait at the front lobby with candles and there is a simple ceremony. There isn’t a back door where death is quietly ushered away.
I never thought about death in those terms before. It’s not an easy subject to write or to read about. Maybe there’s a lot more on my mind than I want to admit to myself.