A home from home at the end of life

One volunteer’s experience

Letter from Yvonne D., a volunteer who was with Tara from its opening until July 2012.

As you know, my family and I are leaving Switzerland this summer, so, it is with deep regret that I have to resign from being a volunteer at La Maison de Tara.

I thought that I would take a moment to reflect on what it has meant to me to be one of the first volunteers at the hospice and on the thoughts and feelings I will carry with me forever.

I know sometimes “inspiring” can be an overused word but, in this case, I think that it truly applies to the work that is taking place each day, each minute, each moment at La Maison.

Since my early 20’s, I have worked as an occupational therapist and have been truly blessed in my various jobs, but working at the hospice is different. To accompany someone during this last stage of life is a privilege and a gift given to me by a stranger.  I am not “an angel”, as a residence once told me, but rather a “passerby” and have often felt that I have received much more than I have given.

Death is the great equalizer and to hold the hand, to look into the eyes of a dying person, to sit quietly in the room, to share a laugh, to help someone who struggles to maintain the dignity we all cherish when using the toilet, or to feed a spoonful of food when the person can no longer do it, or just to listen to a story, is for me, to be in touch with each other at the deepest level of our humanity. Our most meaningful selves are only selves when they are shared.  Does anything else matter in the short time we have in this world?  I think not.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to work with the team of La Maison de Tara. I will hold you all dearly in my heart as you continue to do your work.

To close, I send you my favorite Irish Blessing;

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon your fields and
Until we meet again
May (your) God hold you in the palm of His or Her hand.
Love Yvonne”

About us

La Maison de Tara was founded in Geneva in 2007 as a public utility charity in the lineage of the Hospice Movement. Its goal is to provide patients and their family, with care and support during the last days of life.

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© Fondation La Maison de Tara,

La Maison de Tara
79, chemin de la Montagne
1224 Chêne-Bougeries

Tél : +41 (0)22 3488666
Fax : +41 (0)22 3488664