Volunteer Spotlight: A Calling to Help

When David Bowie died at the beginning of the year it devastated the music industry and fans across the world. But for Angela Hospice volunteer Rosanne Stark, it brought up a very special memory with a patient.

“This was maybe the day before Richard passed,” Rosanne said. “I left [Angela Hospice] and I heard three songs by David Bowie on the radio. I started saying out loud, ‘This is for Richard. I know it is.’”*

Richard was an Angela Hospice patient that Rosanne had been working with. The two would often discuss their love for music, including David Bowie.

Later that same night she came back to Angela Hospice, still thinking about the songs she had heard. When she arrived at Richard’s room that evening, she told him about it. He opened his eyes, looked at his sisters, and jokingly said, “Get outta here!”

His sisters then showed Rosanne some videos of him from before he was sick, when he was in a band. He passed away the next day.

“I’ll never forget that story about David Bowie,” she said. “I think that Richard and David Bowie are jamming in heaven.”

Getting to know patients and fellow volunteers is one of Rosanne’s favorite parts about volunteering, which she’s been doing since 2012.

Currently, Rosanne volunteers a couple shifts a week in the Care Center as a compassionate companion, once a month for mass, and in a few other areas. Some would think that’s a lot of time to spend at Angela Hospice, but every time she thinks about cutting back she changes her mind. She’s going to keep going at this pace as long as possible.

“I’m here quite a bit and whenever I leave I feel more blessed,” Rosanne said.

There’s one other very special thing Rosanne does as a volunteer at Angela Hospice: mentor new volunteers in the Care Center.

“I felt very honored to be asked,” she said humbly. “I really feel like this is a good match for me and that I’m meant to be here.”

Rosanne often volunteers in the Care Center.
Her history seems to indicate the same thing. As a school counselor and teacher she gained organization and good listening skills, two key components of a hospice volunteer. While those have helped her as a volunteer, there’s something else that ultimately brought her here.

“For many people it’s a calling,” Rosanne said. “Sometimes it’s helpful if you’ve already experienced someone passing in your life so you’re not so fearful of what it’s like here. Sometimes it’s important when people have a sense of a power greater than themselves.”

For Rosanne, losing her father was that experience. She had known about hospice from friends who had previously used it. While her mother worried that choosing hospice was like signing her husband’s death certificate, Rosanne knew it wasn’t like that. She knew hospice was a place her father could have a dignified death.

“I was always drawn to Angela Hospice,” she said. “But when my father passed I experienced his death, and it was a very life-changing experience. He seemed to lead me here also.”

That experience led to Rosanne not only becoming a volunteer, but one of Angela Hospice’s biggest advocates.

“I feel like the work I do here is really not about me but it’s about the service, and whatever I receive is a bonus,” Rosanne said. “I feel very inspired when I’m here. I think that God is inspiring me.”

*Name has been changed to protect privacy

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