Name: Debbie Antosiewic
How long have you been a volunteer?
What areas do you work in/what sort of tasks do you do?
Home care and she just signed up for spiritual care. Has helped with Tree of Life, makes fleece blankets for the We Honor Veterans program, makes prayer shawls, and helps with mailings.
What made you decide to become a volunteer?
A friend of mine asked me to watch her daughter while she went for volunteer classes, and when she got done that was kind of right at the beginning of hospice being in Livonia and the beginning of the building and stuff, so it had been in the paper quite a bit, and it sounded really interesting.
When she got done I said, “That sounds pretty cool.” Then I went for volunteer classes and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been through a lot of life changes but Angela Hospice has always been at the heart of it. I’ve always felt something was wrong if I was inactive for a while and it’s like there was something missing from my life.
Why Angela Hospice?
Here, I have a lot of respect for the way things are run and I’m amazed at the volunteers. There are just so many beautiful people, giving freely of their time and talents.
This is when I’m most close to God. When I go visit somebody at home I usually pray the whole time that I’m going there to the Holy Spirit and I say, “I’ll stay out of your way. You say the words that need to be said, or listen. Do what needs to be done.” That’s what I get out of it. I feel extremely close to God when I’m doing this because obviously, it’s not any of my qualifications that are in the room. He’s helping his children and I’m just using my hands.
What is one of your favorite stories or memories from volunteering?
This lady has ALS and she can just move up one finger so that she can still use the computer and I have to help her to eat. She can’t speak, and still, she has a beautiful smile. She can’t move out of her wheelchair and I’ll come in and she’ll take the time to tap out with her one finger on her keyboard something like, “Wow, I like your blouse.” She can still give to others even though she’s in this place in her life where she’s had so much taken. This person has made me especially aware how everybody has a gift.
Our gift is so little. We actually are doing very little and it means so much to them.
I have to say another favorite is when you do Tree of Life, if I didn’t do it for a few years and then I did it, it’s like this is why you do this, because people would tell you their stories and they are just in a mall, getting their Christmas shopping done. And I’ve had several times where it’s been a guy that came behind the table and sat down in the empty chair and just went on and on [about his experience].
I’m always thinking I know Angela Hospice contacted you 20 times to see if you needed grief support, somebody to talk to, and you’ve probably said, “No, I’m fine.” Then they sit down at Tree of Life and they just tell you their story.
I guess the beauty I see is the families that reconcile and siblings that haven’t talked to each other in years that come together, especially in the chapel here. It’s like families get together that probably haven’t been to church in 20 years and they will still come because mom asked them to and she’s dying. It seems like it would be a sad place here and it’s not, at all. You hear families laughing and eating their soup together and it’s just like: this is the beauty of Angela Hospice. Even though something tragic is going on, this is the quality of life that we all should be having and it’s beautiful to experience.