by Wynne Love | photo by Zeena Gregg Photography

There are certain jobs that only a very special sort of person can do. Working in a hospice care facility is one of them. While it’s not a place any of us want to find ourselves, it is one where a knowledgeable and compassionate volunteer can make a world of difference. That is what Lisa Espiritu does for the families with whom she works.

Lisa’s husband passed away eleven years ago. Suddenly, she and her two sons were faced with a terrible loss. “I sought out any and all assistance for myself and my sons,” said Espiritu. When she discovered that San Diego Hospice hosted weekly bereavement groups nearby, she made time to attend.

“The support from group members and San Diego Hospice counselors was invaluable in my journey to accept the loss of my husband and carve out a healthy path for my family,” she said. She decided then that someday she would give back to that community.

She has fulfilled that promise many times over. Espiritu has been a patient care volunteer for the Inpatient Care Center at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine for seven years now. Espiritu visits patients’ homes to provide companionship and relief to patients and their caregivers.

Perhaps most surprising, Espiritu seems to feel that she is the one who benefits. “I treasure the life stories I have heard, dedication and love shown by patients and their families, feelings I have shared with patients and, most importantly, every hand I have had the privilege of holding in the last seven and a half years,” said Espiritu. “Volunteering with San Diego Hospice has nourished my soul as a human being and has put life in perspective.”

How can a job in which she witnesses so much sadness bring her such satisfaction and peace? Espiritu explained that her own health challenges have made her truly cherish the good in her life. “I have learned, through some wonderful patients, that all we have is the ‘here and now’ so savor it, take it all in, and be grateful.”

Espiritu hopes others will follow her example.You can support San Diego Hospice through one of their fundraisers, such as the Melisa & Kaye’s Memorial 5K Walk and Fun Run, or apply to volunteer. Simply visit their website at

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Organization: San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliate Medicine. A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization
Mission:To prevent and relieve suffering and promote quality of life, at every stage of life, through patient and family care, education, research and advocacy
Location:404 Camino Del Rio South, #200 San Diego, CA 92108

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