Bonnie Beck lost her brother in a motorcycle accident nearly 35 years ago and her mother died a year later. At the time there was no bereavement support, and her mother was told to be strong and go on with her life. Bonnie believes she died of a broken heart, and vowed that no one would ever grieve alone if she could help.
She started doing hospice work 25 years ago, using her personal experi- ence and a need to help others. “When you help others, you also help yourself too, and learn to heal in the process”.
Bonnie is Director of Bereavement & Volunteer Services for Charter Hos- pice. She teaches classes for volunteers and coordinates their hospice assign- ments. After a 40 hours of training vol- unteers work in companionship, be- reavement, spiritual and administrative support and community outreach.
Several volunteers have been with Bonnie for 20 years and four others have been with her 17 years. She now teaches classes at Sterling Commons in Victorville. Students have the oppor- tunity to interact with the residents and staff of this memory community and apply their knowledge and compassion.
One such student is Cari Moten of Spring Valley Lake, who wanted to give back after her own experience with hospice. The love and kindness she re- ceived helped greatly when her mother was ill, and then passed in January.
As her mother’s caregiver, it was hard for Cari to turn over care to an- other. But that changed with hospice. “The Hospice team saw us at our most vulnerable. To them it wasn’t just a job, but a life mission. It was an amazing example of the human spirit,” she said. That’s when she decided to give back through hospice and help others.
Once per year a memorial cer- emony is held for family members who have lost loved ones. It includes a lun- cheon, and releasing of doves in re- membrance of those who have passed.
Bonnie is now recruiting volunteers in the High Desert area for hospice. She is currently working with 30 students from Apple Valley High School who are taking the classes at Sterling Commons.
Hospice is treating not just the pa- tient, but the whole family. After family members lose their loved one, they of- ten don’t know what to expect. Hos- pice holds their hands with grief coun- seling, calls, and letters, to help them get through the grieving process.
“When you feel you’re at the end of your rope, you can make it through if you know that somebody is there for you, and to hold you up,” says Bonnie.
If you would like to volunteer for Charter Hospice, call Bonnie Beck at (909) 835-7542 or (888) 404-2427 or Sterling Commons at (760 245-3300.