Celebrating Volunteers for National Volunteer Week with Hospice of Michigan in Cadillac

“Oh if they could only realize what they’re missing by not being part of that team.”

That team is the Hospice of Michigan.
And this week they’re celebrating their volunteers.

“We celebrate our volunteers about every month here. The volunteers are just as much a part of the team as our nurses, our aids, the physician, the social worker,” says Local Coordinator, Kathy Sandage.

LogoThe Hospice of Michigan in Cadillac is recognizing two volunteers that have really made a true difference to the patients and families across Northern Michigan.

“It takes so little time to get so much enjoyment out of it,” says Matteson.

Lois Matteson has been volunteering for 20 years.

She says, “You’ve gained more than you’ve given…My husband said, I don’t care it cost me to buy gas for you to go and do that. If you love it, just do it.”

For Carolyn Flore,

“I’ve been volunteering for hospice for six years,” says Flore.

Volunteering with the Hospice of Michigan showed her she’s here to help patients feel a little nostalgia,
To comfort them in their last moments of life.

Flore says, “It’s unbelievable to see somebody who does not remember family anymore, to listen to music from their youth. Music from their youth is the important key there. That they can come back to life for just a short period of time. They remember their children, they remember their spouse.”

The Hospice of Michigan focuses on improving the quality of life for its patients.
But I think it’s safe to say that it’s also improving the volunteers’ lives. Hospice 1

“It takes so little time to get so much enjoyment out of it,” says Matteson.

“It gave me a very good understanding about what end of life is really like,” says Flore.

The meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it.
And the volunteers really give more than just their time.

With a big smile, Matteson proudly shares, “They need something special. My daughter makes lap quilts for every one of my patients. I don’t just buy a card, I buy stickers and so I decorate my cards and write a message on each card.”

“I truly believe that no matter what stage they’re in, they know you’re there, even if they are in a coma…I like to sing. Even if they’re very, very close, it’s almost like they’re thinking about the music, they’re thinking about heaven or whatever but they’re thinking a happy thought before they go,” says Flore.

“I know a lot of people might say oh I don’t think I could ever do this, and I had a friend say to me it’s sad isn’t it? It’s not. It’s a celebration of where they are in their life,” says Sandage.

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