Monday, 20 December 2010

Merry Christmas From Debbie

The human spirit is a wonderful thing. I have been privileged to be working with some incredible patients in recent months at our Hospital. The children of the children’s cancer ward are truly inspirational as are the staff. They somehow manage to concentrate their emotions on the "here & now".

They are the bravest of the brave. The staff seem to focus on giving the children as normal a day as possible, always encouraging/planning for their future but in a very subtle way. Both the staff, the children & their families find the most amazing faith inside them in such adversity, a belief they really do have a future together.

Time is the most precious of gifts. As we all seem to rush around trying to cope with transport problems & the commercial hype of Christmas the meaning of Christmas can sometimes be lost. It can all get so stressful wishing we had been better organized & delivered all our cards, bought all our presents early, managed to see all our friends & family.

Volunteering can sometimes be the best paid job in the world.

A month ago I began the most rewarding, heartwarming, humbling, heart breaking job I have ever had. I did not know if I could be emotionally strong enough to cope. I was to be working in the same ward my cousin’s courageous son who had leukemia twice & had a heart transplant as a result of his treatment. The ward had only just opened then but all these years later the compassionate staff still remembered him & his parents. With his passing this year I was afraid I may let everyone down & the last thing I wanted to do was to become emotional in front of the children I would be working with. The staff had reassured me working in the ward would be a life changing experience & they were right. All the baggage, my insecurities, my fears etc evaporate as you enter the ward.

I was asked to provide some art therapy for a young lady who was a patient at the hospital. To look at her she appeared to be doing so well. She was so enthusiastic to do something creative. I had earlier prepared some simplistic child friendly images of an owl that could be made into a collage or painted. She wanted to do something more realistic & grown up; more akin to the owl in a Harry potter Film, so we sat down together & experienced something truly magical.

I would paint one wing, and then she would work on the other. She was so determined to do her best & became upset with her self when things did not go quite as she hoped. I told her not to worry & just enjoy painting. We could always make things right with the painting. Together we would give her the wings to help her creative confidence fly. I encouraged her & got her to correct my lousy wing as hers was so much better than mine. We then worked on the eyes. She watched & listened intently. Her Mum came to join us & was so pleased to see her daughter enjoy herself so much. We lost track of time. Doctors came & asked her how she was feeling. Nurses checked on her too but nothing seemed to distract her from painting. I had checked with her Mum & the resident teacher what time we needed to finish so as not to tire her. When her Mum came in with some tablets I knew we had to come to a close. I asked her to sign her beautiful owl & she beamed the warmest of smiles. Her Mum was so pleased. She had the difficult task of asking her daughter to take an extra tablet both of them knowing they would make her feel worse before she could begin to feel better. I waved to them as they left to go back to the ward from our classroom.
It was only then I was informed by the teacher what she had been through. That she had been there a couple of months & been really poorly, sleeping most of the time or not able to take an interest in anything due to her health. The ability of the children, their family & staff to focus on the “here & now” is so inspirational & humbling. Just for a moment we shared a universe where emotions & mind found a unique peace.

I have been working there one day a week, ever since, more if I could. Last week we had the Christmas Nativity Concert. There were so much, joy & laughter. They do not entertain sad thoughts only hope & positivety.

A young boy who had been in hospital for much of the past two years sitting in the audience stole the show; when he reappeared wearing a Father Christmas costume, playing Christmas Carols on the violin.

This week I received a job offer to start part time paid work at the hospital doing admin work which I am really grateful for. Hopefully all the paperwork can be sorted out for me to start some time early in the New Year. I am looking forward to being able to pay my way in the world again.

I hope you can all come home safely to enjoy your Christmas with your family, friends, your loved ones.

Some things as precious as time, can be worth far more than money.

Wishing you all a very Mery Christmas
Good Health & Happiness in 2011.
Peace be with you.



Melissa said...

I wish you a very Merry Christmas too, Debbie, and the best of luck on your new job!

Melissa XX

Anji said...

Your work with the children sounds so you. We all know how painting can take you out of yourself and it sounds ideal for the children. Keep up the very good work ... and now a part time job in the new year!

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Doris said...

Oh Debbie what a wonderful thing to be part of. Thank you for sharing and well done you on your voluntary and new job. It sounds like a whole new horizon. What a wonderful year ahead it promises to be.

Hugs and love for a wonderful Christmas. xxx

Lucy Melford said...

Oh, how rewarding! I just hope you'll get as much from the paid work, however much needed it is.

Meanwhile, Happy Christmas, Debbie!

Lori D said...

I'm sure your smile will bring joy to anyone wherever you work! Merry Christmas to you Debbie! God's blessings be upon you!

GirlWhoShould (Lucy) said...

Some truely inspirational stories.
Congratulations on the new job, I hope it pans out for you.

Lucy xx