Five years ago today, I was all ready to start the Hospice of Haines training-- where I'd learn how to change a bed with someone in it, or use a walker, who to call when you need help in the middle of the night, and how to comfort someone without driving them crazy. (The trick is to be still. To be present.) Anyway, I was all ready, when I got hit by a truck riding my bike and was badly injured, and though not dying, (thankfully) for months I needed the kind of care Hospice volunteers provide. And they did. (Though not officially, not through Hospice of Haines)- My main caregiver (outside the family) was Melina Shields, a graduate of the training-- and others who came by and sat with me were too-- including my friend and Hospice board president Nancy Schnabel. I have since taken the Hospice classes in caregiving and end of life issues and have used what I learned more than you'd think, and, surprisingly, in more personal and private ways than just in my Hospice volunteer work. When my mother was dying, when a neighbor was ill, writing obituaries, when my children have needed counsel. If you can make the time, I'd highly recommend it. It's good for you, good for the community, good for the world, and a nice way to meet a group of amazing caregivers who are your neighbors. It's is both practical and spiritual training, and is a great way for newcomers to make meaningful connections in the community as well. We do the training annually, and it covers a lot, with presentations from a wide range of caring experts-- counselors, doctors, nurses, Fireman Al-- and more. It is free- although donations are welcome. (The food is great, too.) It's 5:30-9:00 on weekday evenings-- dinner provided-- April 12, 14, 19 & 21 and 8:30-12:30 on two Saturdays -breakfast & lunch provided- April 17 & 21. Call the office at 766-3645 to find out more or to sign up. Also, Clyde Bell's memorial service is today, I hear Tony Tengs will be playing the music. It's at the Legion at two.