40 for 40: Alix Suggs’ Story

When I retired from a career in federal law enforcement and a 10 year stint as a federal contractor, I sought an avocation in retirement that would feed my soul, so to speak, in a totally different way than my career had.  While mulling around what I might do, and sort of “decompressing” from the fast lane of working and commuting, I helped a dear friend in a way that ultimately led to my realizing that hospice work might be just the thing.  She was still a year from being able to retire and was still making the commute from Fredericksburg into D.C. everyday, whilst her then 95 year old mother, who was living with her and her husband, was getting more and more care dependent.  I spent two days a week at her home, and quickly learned how deeply gratifying it is to help people who are dealing with a family member’s growing frailty and trying to keep up with normal responsibilities.

It hit me that hospice work might be something that would fit.  And it has.  I learned three things very early on.  First—it’s not depressing.  The people you meet and the gratitude they bathe you in just simply lifts you up.  Second—seeing the difficult times my clients and their families are going through is humbling, and has thrown all the blessings of my life into high relief.  That awareness is a gift to me.  And third—when a patient passes, I see and feel it as a blessed release for both the patient and the family.

I have to say that working with my patients, their families, and the wonderful people who make up Capital Caring is the most gratifying thing I have ever done.  It’s an endeavor I feel deeply honored to be entrusted with, and very lucky to be able to do.

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