In October of 2009, I had on an ill-fitting suit, and I was nervously traveling towards the King Street Metro station. I had a flip phone (this was before smartphones were ubiquitous), and back then if you sent a text message question to 46645, it would text you back an answer (I didn’t know at the time that 46645 was owned by google…).
The question I needed to know the answer to that day was ‘what is palliative care?’
I was on my way that day to interview for a position at NHPCO and what is now the Hospice Action Network, and I hadn’t researched exactly what palliative care was before heading to my interview (sorry, Angie…). I didn’t know how much my life would change that day as my Orange Line train sped through a sunny Arlington National Cemetery. Just over six years later, it’s time for me to say goodbye. Today is my last day at NHPCO and HAN.
Lauren has been asking me to do a closing post for over a month now, and to be honest, I’ve been putting it off. Even now, I don’t know what to say. How do you wrap up everything that the hospice community has meant to you for the last half-decade? How can you fit that into a social-media-optimized blog post? Even if I was given months to write it all out, I don’t know what I’d say.
If I had to boil it all down, I guess I’d say this: thanks. Thanks to each and every one of you out there who touches the lives of patients and families facing an end of life experience. Thanks for dealing with other people’s grief, pain, and anguish with poise, grace, and compassion. Thanks for opening our emails and taking action when we’ve asked. Thanks for picking up the phone when we call asking for “a quick chat”. Thanks for coming to D.C. to tell your hospice stories to Congress.
Thanks for everything.
Hospice in the US is dynamic. It is currently dealing with a changing landscape and pressure from all sides. And yet, in the midst of everything, I have never met a group of people more willing to help. It’s in your nature. I know I can speak for the entire team here at NHPCO when I say that we come to work energized every single day because we get to work with and for such an amazing group of people.
One final note of thanks- to the HAN team, in whose incredibly capable hands things will continue. Sharon Pearce is a force of nature- she is an amazing tactician and is doing wonderful things for our community on Capitol Hill. Jon Keyserling gives us all room to run and has our backs no matter what. Karen Davis’s ability to analyze policy and churn out good copy is fantastic, and I have seen her come more into her own than possibly anyone else on the HAN team. Lauren Drew’s relentless energy and enthusiasm is so boundless we’ve considered drug testing her (joke). This team is seamless and limitless. The hospice community could not be in better hands, policy-wise.
Anyway, enough. I will miss you all very much, but I’m not going far. I’ll still be in the hospice community, and I look forward to crossing paths with many of you in the future.