The reminder to “meet people where they are” is the most prominent lesson Stacy has learned from her service at Collabria Care. For her, that is a reminder of acceptance and love and respect for each individual, wherever he or she may be in life.
Stacy Price is a self-described “character.” She exudes joy, and her sense of wonder and respect for life are undeniable. She feels perfectly matched with her Palliative Services patient, a nonagenarian living at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville, because – as she says, “we just sit there and giggle so much of the time!”
Mrs. Price is helping this patient compile a collection of stories – particularly about her experience as a Marine, because “that’s really the core time in her life that she regards as one of the most exciting, fulfilling times.” The patient tells Stacy the stories she recalls, and Stacy records and transcribes the memories. She then allows the patient to make any necessary edits, and then Stacy prepares them to be bound into a coffee table book. One copy will be given to the patient’s family, and the other will be left at the Veteran’s Home, available to inform, inspire, and resonate with any interested Vet who comes after.
Stacy cherishes her volunteering time. “It’s just so much fun,” she says. “I mean, she tells me the best stories. And [no matter how long I’m with her] it’s never enough time.” Stacy always can’t wait to return!
Like so many of our volunteers, Stacy felt the tug to serve after witnessing the power of hospice care for a loved one. She described the panic and the frenzy of her father-in-law’s last days, up until he enrolled in hospice. At that point, she remembers “There was just such a serenity and peace. I’m so glad we had that for him. … And I was so impressed with the people who came to guide us all through the process; I thought, ‘I’m going to do that. I’m going to find a way to give back, to be there, and to be that person for somebody.’”
But after completing the volunteer training at Collabria Care in early 2016, she didn’t feel called to jump into hospice work – although she’d never rule out the possibility of serving hospice patients and their families in the future. Instead, Stacy wanted her first experience to be with a Palliative Services patient, partly because she understands what it’s like to live with serious illness. It may be somewhat surprising to learn that Mrs. Price has lived with chronic pain for over half of her life. Proactive by nature, she dedicated herself to finding constructive ways to manage her pain, once diagnosed. She found relief in yoga and meditation. “The pain may still be there,” she says, “but I don’t associate with it anymore. It’s just there. It’s going to be there. But it’s not what I focus on all the time.”
That mindfulness serves her in her study of Yoga Nidra, in her career as a yoga and meditation leader, and also in her new volunteering experience. When asked about her most powerful lesson derived from volunteering at Collabria Care, she didn’t hesitate to identify one of the core elements of volunteer training, which is the reminder to “meet people where they are.” For her, that is a reminder of acceptance and love and respect for each individual, wherever he or she may be in life. And it’s also a way to bring multiple aspects of her life together. “It’s so simple, meeting people where they are. That’s what I’m doing with my Palliative Services patient. That’s what I do with my yoga clients. That’s what we do in meditation. It was just another way to say ‘oh, of course!’ Meet them where they are.”