Holidays can be difficult, whether we have recently experienced a loss or have been alone for some time. It is a time when memories, good and bad, come back to haunt us about the way it was (or we somehow think it should be) and no longer is.

And what about those of us with no children, no parents, no immediate family nearby? Commercials, holiday songs, recipes, and gatherings all focus on family. It is a tough time of year.

Hospice staff and fellow volunteers teach a valuable lesson, which is to become "other-focused" rather than "me-focused." They are a group to whom the other-focus way of life seems to just come naturally. These are my role models, people who think first of the others. The shift to other-focus is amazingly rewarding. Thank you, hospice folks.

--Susan S., volunteer