My Path to Helping People at End of Life


My journey to becoming a reiki volunteer began many years ago when I read an article in The Cricket about two sisters from my town who had taken volunteer training at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers.  

Having completed divinity school, I was encouraged by their story.  If someone felt the call to walk with people at the end of life, they had a path to follow.

My path included some detours.  Instead of ministry, I was drawn to human services.  For many years I worked with adults who had intellectual disabilities.  I also took introductory reiki training.

More recently, my parents both entered hospice within an 18-month period, and I became a part-time caregiver.  The care they – and our family members – received was phenomenal and a great comfort to all of us.  Another seed had been planted; I had seen the value of a committed and compassionate hospice team.

A year after my mom died, I sought more reiki training.  

Reiki is a Japanese relaxation technique/complementary therapy thought to harmonize a person’s electromagnetic energy field with the energies of Nature -- some more subtle than others.  Recipients often report a greater sense of calm and peacefulness after a session.

By chance, my reiki teacher, Karen Pischke, had another student who was offering reiki at the Kaplan Family Hospice House, so I simply followed in her footsteps.  I received additional training at Care Dimensions and have been offering reiki to hospice patients in their homes for nearly five years.

As a hospice volunteer, I put my interests to greatest use in bringing comfort and relaxation to patients through reiki.  Not every patient experiences reiki in the same way, but when a person feels more relaxed physically or emotionally after a session, it is extremely gratifying for both of us.

Providing reiki for hospice patients is one of many volunteer opportunities at Care Dimensions.  Offering simple companionship can make a big difference for patients and families.  Being one small part of a larger hospice care team is indeed life-altering.  I suspect every Care Dimensions volunteer – in whatever activity they are engaged – has shared moments of joy and peace with patients that seem of another, more lasting world.

health, caregiving, reiki, hospice, children's hospice, father eugeniusz dutkiewicz sac hospice, reiki teacher, geoff pope, relaxation technique, karen pischke, complementary therapy