Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Cuba

Name: Jane Cuba

How long have you been a volunteer?
20 years.

What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Home care, bakes shortbread for weekly teas, cooks with husband Mike at the holiday events, Tree of Life, and knits lap-robes for patients and the We Honor Veterans program.

What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Angela Hospice took care of my father 21 years ago. I am the original weenie. I am not the nurse type. I’m squeamish. I thought that there was no way I could do this, but my father built his own house and that’s where he wanted to be, he wanted to be in his home. Angela Hospice helped me keep him in his home.

The night he died I had a fire in the fireplace because I know he loved that and made popcorn. It was as good as it could be. He was where he wanted to be. Dorothy Mekaru was the social worker. She was a volunteer for years and years. She was my social worker and she was so wonderful that I remember her name 20 years later. The hospice people helped me do what my father wanted. For that, I thought, ‘Oh, I’ll give back for a year,” and now its 20 years later.

Jane knits lap-robes for patients.
What is your favorite part about volunteering?
For many patients, their families have heard their stories 100 times before. I haven’t heard those stories. I get to be truly, genuinely interested. I’m not faking it. I really am interested and that’s wonderful. That’s a gift to them and a gift to me to hear these stories and hear about their lives. It’s very special.

What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
I was sent out for a one-time assignment during a frigid winter that was way north of Bloomfield. I get there and they had a bird. At one point I got the patient to the bathroom, and I look and the bird is on the floor of its cage. I thought, “Oh no, the bird is dead. What am I going to do?” So I get the patient back from the bathroom and I’m blocking the cage hoping she doesn’t notice. She never did notice.

I called the family that night and said, “I’m just so sorry about your bird.” And they said, “There’s no problem. The bird just plays dead.” I’m thinking, no, I’m a hospice volunteer, I know dead. Sure enough, the bird would do that. The bird would play dead!

At the funeral a number of weeks later I said something about the bird and I was so sorry. They told me the bird was fine, nothing was wrong with the bird. Plus, the patient had no attachment to the bird. It was the daughter’s bird from college or something. So the patient wouldn’t have cared anyway.

So yes, the bird story sticks with me.

No comments:

Post a Comment