Wise Beyond Her Years

By: Bart Wingblad, Angela Hospice Volunteer

Aspiring medical student. Accomplished musician. Passionate and eloquent speaker. Tomorrow’s doctor. These are a few of the things that make Gopika Menon special. But perhaps, what makes her even more extraordinary is the heartfelt care she provides as an Angela Hospice volunteer.

Gopika has been a volunteer at Angela Hospice for just over two years. In that time she’s helped out at the Care Center assisting patients with meals, direct care, providing gentle companionship, listening to stories, and comforting those who are frightened, angry, confused, or suffering a broken heart.

When Gopika is not volunteering, in her free time she
plays the piano and violin, takes part in traditional
Indian dance, writes short stories and essays,
and spends time with family and friends. 
Mom – an architect for the State of Michigan, Dad – a hospital administrator with DMC, and her brother – a graphic designer, have all been very supportive of her, as well as being a constant source of inspiration toward the pursuit of her professional and personal goals.

Gopika’s motivation for becoming an Angela Hospice volunteer was the opportunity to experience exposure to different medical fields, along with becoming familiar with hospice.

“Patients deserve all the care available in the final stages of life, and Angela Hospice provides that,” she said.

Listening to Gopika share her thoughts on quality care, volunteering, and life in general, it immediately becomes apparent that this is a selfless young woman who possesses wisdom beyond her 21 years.

“I think more people should consider volunteering,” Gopika said. “You cannot apply a value towards the rewards we receive. The knowledge that you’ve afforded someone the confidence that they can count on you is reward in itself.”

When asked how her hospice experience has affected her life thus far Gopika said, “It’s had a huge impact in removing the cloud of judgment we all sometimes feel, to appreciate the presence of every moment, to let bad things go, to enjoy every moment, to appreciate this life, and all the real moments of life.”

Gopika wears a warm smile as she cares for and comforts patients. It’s through that smile that we also see her generous and giving heart. Compassion, courage, patience, humility, and empathy are just a few of Gopika’s qualities.

A few years ago, her father brought her dying grandmother to Michigan from India to care for her. Gopika, who was still in high school at the time, played a significant role in that care. Her grandmother died in 2012.

“Looking back, I thought it was a chore, even questioning why was I doing this,” she said.


“But now, I feel such an appreciation to have known the privilege of caring for her and feel so blessed to have had the time with her. It will forever remain this beautiful gift that I will treasure always.”

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