Greg Merideth has an infectious enthusiasm for life and for people. He works as senior vice president of sales for Lagunitas Brewing Company, and with his wife of 25 years, Katherine, has two children: Dylan, who is studying medicine at Colorado State, and Emily, who attends Napa High. But even with his busy schedule, he’s found a way to share his time and talents with our patients as a Hospice volunteer.
Eight years ago, Greg had lost his father to cancer. His wife, Katherine, has been managing Crohn’s disease for 20 years and is a breast cancer survivor. Greg began to reevaluate his life balance, his faith and his understanding of what was truly important to him. And after much research and reading on spirituality and natural healing, he attended classes to study Rieki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing. After two years of practice, he is now a Reiki Master.
While studying Reiki, he wondered how to utilize this skill. “I wanted to incorporate into my life a way to help others on a regular basis,” Greg said. “One night, I dreamt about working in a Hospice office. When I told my wife about the dream, she told me to connect the dots: we had seen the amazing things hospice care had been able to provide my father and I was seeking a way to help others, so she encouraged me to call Napa Valley Hospice (now Collabria Care) to find out if they needed help. I underwent volunteer training classes, and a year ago, began patient visitations.
“I have most weekends free, so I like taking 3-4 hours each weekend to visit patients in Hospice care.
I offer Reiki for those who would like it, but helping with a variety of different patient needs has also allowed me to develop other ways to enrich my visits,” he says. “I’m a big iPad user, and have downloaded all sorts of songs over the years, so I’ll play a variety of songs from the patient’s generation: big band, movie tracks, opera, top performers of his or her time, you name it. We listen, we talk, and we often end up singing the songs together, too—sometimes making quite a scene. It’s a way to connect, and something to share and enjoy together.