I Work in an Extraordinary Environment
I work in an extraordinary environment. I work where people live and I work where people die. I work at Central Baptist Village, a community where I become friends with people much older than myself, I become close with their families; we become family. We build deep relationships and then after a time, we have to say goodbye. When a resident passes away, we employees feel the loss of that resident and the loss of their family (I am tearing up as I write this).
We are a Life Plan Community, offering Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing, and I’m the Director of Sales and Marketing. In sales we are not supposed to talk about dying. We are supposed to talk about the wonderfully social and enriching environment, and the delicious food. We talk about the award winning care. We talk about our award winning employees. We don’t talk about dying, but people die here.
I want to talk about it; because it is a beautiful privilege to be with people at the end of life (did I mention that I am tearing up as I write this?).
Here is our little secret: (in a whisper) we celebrate death. When someone is at the end of life, everyone is told about it. Our resident is moved to the Chrysalis Room where they begin their end of life journey. When someone moves to the Chrysalis Room we all know it is okay to go in and say goodbye. The family is there, too. We honor the act of sitting vigil, this is a sacred time.
The journey continues. When the chimes ring we know the time has come. We stop whatever we are doing and we gather. We line the hallway, a kind of honor guard to escort our resident to the next part of the journey. We planted a special garden where our resident can pass through with us and their family at their side; The Memory Garden, a sacred place for a sacred time.
I work in an extraordinary environment. I work where people live and I work where people die, and I am grateful.
Julie Stevens, Director of Sales and Marketing