Scott Acord and Lynn Taylor
DescriptionLynn (68) shares her story from college professor to hospice volunteer to board member and board chair at TrinityCare.
- Scott Acord
- Lynn Taylor
Recording LocationParticipant's Home
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00:00 Okay. So are you recording and I'm going to just check the volume levels here real quick as we go.
00:12 All right. Can you just before we began just speak into the mic and let me just tell me about your morning so far. I woke up at 6:30 this morning, and I make coffee. Ready for this event, and I'm beginning to calm down. Thank you.
00:34 All right, so I'm going to let you read your card first and then I'll read and then I'll I'll get us going. Okay. My name is Lynn Taylor. I am 68 years old today's date is September 21st, 2024 in Palos Verdes Estates in my backyard and my relationship to Scott is that we're colleagues. My name is Scott acord. I'm 59 years old. Today's date is September 21st, 2020. We are in Lynn's backyard here in Palos Verdes Estates and we are colleagues.
01:08 So then tell me a little bit about yourself and and your relationship to Trinity Care.
01:18 Well, my name is Lynn Taylor as I just got through saying and I've been involved with Trinity care for about seven years prior to that. I was involved with Little Company of Mary. So I've had I've really had all most of them truly a lifetime of volunteering and my relationship began at Little Company of Mary working with Women's Wellness and then moved over to the no one dies alone program where I was sitting with dying people and
01:56 That sounds not like how it was seriously, but I think that really my story began when both of my parents were facing their end-of-life and they lived in Palos Verdes as well. And so I really had that I was stopped teaching at the time. So I really had the time to be able to really spend with them. My mom became ill first and she actually had some pretty serious ups and downs but her last
02:37 40 days were actually spent at little company Mary Hospital in the last few and in the hospice Suites and so I became very grateful to the ways that they tended to her at towards the end because she was unable to be at home where she really wanted to be but they allowed me to stay overnight. They allowed me to spend as much time as I wanted to and needed to be with her.
03:06 Up until the very end and then about two years later her father became ill and I was able to spend a great deal of time with him too. And I realized I have two brothers and two sisters and we all were able to do what we could do, but it really became clear to me that being with people at the end of their lives with something that
03:38 I really could do and not everybody really can do so when I heard about the no one dies alone program. I thought that this would be a way to continue to honor my my parents Legacy.
03:54 And so
03:57 I would basically the way it worked is if there was a patient that had no one you would get an email and then you would just sign up and and go and sit with whoever this whoever this person might be but I became so intrigued by the organization Trinity care because I recognized that they were not just serving people in the hospital, but they were also really reaching out to hundreds of people across Southern California and not just adults but children as well and it really truly captured my heart and I wanted to know more about them.
04:40 And I wanted to see what I might be able to do to help them.
04:46 To help them. So I talked with another friend who is on the board and asked if I might be able to join which fortunately enough there was a space and so I I became a board member in
05:08 At about the same time the no one dies alone program was doing some training and asked me if I would participate in some of the training exercises.
05:19 As a standardized patient or as a family member to help doctors. It was actually a training exercise that by would do with Dr. Glen, to where he would be.
05:33 Sharing news of an impending death and so he could model it for other for his for for doctors and the more and more I became involved with this in the more more. I saw the
05:53 Gaps and compassion a doctor Komatsu. I began to realize that well, I did the way it happened. Okay. Here's the way it happened.
06:04 We were at the standardized training that he had Providence wide hospice teams. There were about eight of them from Oregon and Alaska, Montana.
06:20 And his mentor, dr. Janet Abrams where he had trained to become a hospice palliative doctor was from Harvard and she came in for the training as well. And after we had done these three days of training we were all in the classroom and Glenn was at the front of the classroom talking about what had happened debriefing us all and I've never met anybody who just has such calm mindful.
06:54 Presence in the midst of what can really be considered a really challenging frightening world. So I just said out loud kind of to myself. He's amazing not knowing that Janet Abrams was sitting right in front of me and she turned around and she said yes he is and there needs to be a chair in his name and I thought oh, well Janet Abrams has there needs to be a chair and cleanse name. I mean, she's from arbyrd. She must know something.
07:31 Well, then it was this was in October and in November. We were having our board meeting with my second board meeting. But Terri Warren the executive director of at the time she was the executive director of Providence trinitycare called and asked me if I would do the reflection for the next board meeting on how it affected me to be able to do the standardized patient work with Glenn, and I said, of course, I'd be happy to and somehow we had kind of I tried to get in touch with her and we never really were able to touch base. So I kind of had to just
08:14 On the Fly figure out what it was that they were looking for me cuz you said I just want you to connect this to your purpose as a board member not let me remind you. This is my second meeting. I have not seen any Reflections before except for the one in September that was presented by dr. Komatsu and it was his whole person care presentation. It was his presentation on the wounded healer. It was his story and I thought okay. This is what I get to follow but that's what I'm going to do.
08:46 So I actually began I remember my my presentation was remember it was 2013 because I remember it was the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination because that was very much in the news at the time too. And I I decided to use one of his examples of
09:13 Putting a man on the moon and being very specific about what that was because I had been this going to come as a surprise to you, but I actually was Professor communication and I really I'm kind of used to talkin but it doesn't always show and I'd always use that example and how to really motivate people by saying specifically this is what will happen.
09:38 So I'm sharing my experience at the the training and I said and so what I have decided is that in my tenure as a board member. I will an endowed chair in Glencoe Matthews name.
09:55 And the room just went silent and it was totally quiet and I thought well shortest board membership ever.
10:06 And then I have one by one probably starting with Terry's like yes, that's great. That's so fabulous. We're going to do that let you in and then there was all of this excitement and enthusiasm around it. I took a deep breath
10:20 And I really had no idea what that meant. Nobody really had any idea what it meant, but it was specific and it was my goal and that's what I was going to do.
10:32 Barbara Roberts was the director of the foundation at the time.
10:37 And we began to put together. What would be an endowed chair quite honestly Glen's chairs the first Providence endowed chair system-wide, so we didn't really have a model to follow. We literally made it up as we went along. But we did follow the rules and it was kind of a slow process. We kind of get started and then we would slow down and we get started and then we slow down but I did not give up. I did not let it just kind of Fade Into The Ether.
11:16 And so worked together on this with Robin and Robin Haney Stephanie Turner Barbara Roberts.
11:25 Chloe still about it was almost I want to say it was at least a year-and-a-half. We were at the embassy dinner Embassy dinner honors someone who is given tremendously throughout their lifetime for that particular year every year from Trinity and we were at the embassy dinner and I'm sitting next to Terry Warren and Michael Hayes and Laura Curry were being honored.
11:53 From Western National and Terry link over to me at the dinner and she says when it introduced a thousand cranes tonight, are you ready? And I'm like
12:04 I've been ready at let's do this and so she got up and she talked about how we were going to have an endowed chair for dr. Glen Komatsu at which point Michael Hayden and Laura made a lovely gift and as did our
12:29 Founders not really, but our Jackie glass who made a beautiful significant gift to do the chair which really got us moving.
12:40 Then we met in salons and introduced the concept two people bit by bit.
12:51 We adopted the team turtle image one September and it it it really has stuck. We we've named ourselves team Turtle because we're slow and we're steady but we get the job done and team Turtle consist of Stephanie and Robin and Lynn and now Peggy Barber is no longer here, but she gets to still be an honorary member of a team of Team Turtle putting together this this this Thousand Crane endowed chair for dr. Glenn, 244 those of the uninitiated people who might not know what it means to have a chair or can you just explain that a little bit? Thank you. Yes.
13:41 There are three specific.
13:46 Areas, that the chair covers first of all of the endowed chair, really
13:54 Honors, dr. Glen Komatsu for all of the work that he has done and the monies that are given to this can only be used to pacifically for the chair and a certain amount annually can be designated by doctor Komatsu for things that aren't covered in our regular fundraising kinds of opportunity. So it gives him the opportunity to work outside of the box.
14:28 One of the things that he one of the first things that he did was he went to the Google search inside yourself course, which has been put together by Brilliant Minds scientists and monks the Dalai Lama and it really is a mindfulness course that he has no taught to his staff to the board to donors, but that is one specific area that the chair allows for him to use money for because he feels that especially his caregivers their operating in such a challenging environment that he wants them to have the ability to have resources to remain calm to remain present.
15:25 To take care of themselves as well as take care of their patients. So the mindfulness is a piece of the is is it a large piece of the endowed chair? Another party endowed chair are fellowships for Pediatric specifically for Pediatric Physicians and support team. And then the third piece of the chair is allows for education and awareness of the public to help them understand what hospice and palliative care provide that kind of answer you.
16:04 So, let's see. Where are we?
16:13 Well you not go ahead you had been talking about. Well you finish talking about his chair and I just wanted to know a little bit about it more.
16:24 So in May I guess it was actually February February of 2020. I was elected to become the the board chair which I was a little hesitant to do but I'm actually pretty excited about being the chair. Unfortunately. Everything has been virtual since I have been chair. So it is made it a little bit challenging to try to figure out exactly how to move ahead but I have to say this working ization is so amazing. They have not missed a beat. We had a virtual Sunday by the Sea which raised almost as much money as it it has Sunday by the sea is Wine and Food event held in a lovely home and in Palos Verdes and we made almost as much money as we do.
17:27 Layla's walk is Trinity Kids Care fundraiser. Layla was a young child really an infant toddler on our service and her parents Matt and Reese on and we're so grateful for everything that Trinity Kids Care did for them that they wanted to find a way to let people not only celebrate their daughter's life. But to have other people become more aware of Trinity Kids Care last year was our first walk up at the Botanical Gardens and
18:08 I have to work continuing it this year as well. Even though it's going to be a virtual walk walk walk where you are, but the team continues to find ways to.
18:23 Make sure that we
18:26 Raise the money and raise the awareness for Trinity Care Trinity Kids Care palliative care whole person care.
18:41 To know that's great. I think that you know kind of explains.
18:49 You know what you guys are or what you're doing. If you don't mind, I would love to go back a little bit and talk about your volunteer work. Now. Did you come from the world of Education? I do and then I guess you you were tired from that and now went to do before Trinity Karen. You were volunteering as a hospice worker. Did you volunteer prior to that or was Papa scare your sort of introduction to volunteer volunteer kind of my whole life.
19:28 I mean it I starting with being a bluebird and wanting to sell the most Russell Stover candy in Lakewood, Colorado, even though it was snowing and cold. I was just determined to sell as many boxes of candy is I wanted and I as I possibly could and I I just always there was a piece of me that I always love to volunteer. I was a Sunday school teacher went starting probably in about 14 years old. I tutor kids reading I was in an organization called National charity league and I worked as a candy striper in that organization in college. I did some March of Dimes stuff. So just has always been a part of who I am and then Elsa as a mom, of course, I got involved in the PTA and I was The Snack Shack for the baseball team and
20:26 All of those kinds of things and then I was asked to be kind.
20:36 I became involved in organization called shawl about 15-20 years ago Charles stands for support for Harbor area women's lives.
20:47 And Shaw is a rehab house for otherwise homeless women and so I became like I started doing classes with those women and on a weekly basis, which led to me being on the board which led to me being the chair of that board in that was a really amazing opportunity for me to to really be able to
21:13 To give back to I lost a sister. I lost a sister who was homeless and addicted in this really gave me an opportunity to
21:26 Make amends if that even make sense for her but y'all still exists thrives women are go through their 9-month program and then they can also find housing for them. So is it's an amazing organization and then after a while I kind of moved off of that and I was asked to be a part of the Women's Wellness conference at Little Company of Mary. So I worked with them for about 10 years still get involved in that at that some level but not not quite so much and then I took a little time off as I was actually messing dad mentioned before I walked both of my parents through the end of their life, and I just needed a little bit of a break. I knew that the next thing I wanted to do you needed to really be
22:18 Significant, I knew that I really wanted to find something that would make a difference and that's actually how I came to the no one dies alone program and then ultimately trinitycare. I think I mean, I think that's
22:33 Really important work. And now I may we always talked about having a good life but having a good death I think is is also important not just for the person but for their families to know that
22:46 When they leave, you know, they've it's the easiest exit if you well and that you can you know, that someone can have you know, I think we I don't think we necessarily think about it for ourselves. But you know, it is important. It is important than I do think that a good death. Thank you for using that term because I do think that a good death really is.
23:17 Almost always possible. If in fact people are willing to accept the situation so much healing so much healing can take place and I
23:35 I do feel that both of my parents did finally have a good death and I'm I am I'm grateful for that and
23:49 And you think about
23:55 You think about your own life and you certainly don't want to go down that road quite yet, but at the same time.
24:06 I don't think I've ever been.
24:12 Afraid to die. I'm not worried about my afterlife but I I can honestly say that before I became is involved with Trinity Care as I am. I do think I was afraid of the dying process.
24:27 And I think that a lot of that has been eliminated for me now. It's not something that I'm looking forward to.
24:34 But it's also not something that I'm afraid of and I also feel like it is Trinity has helped me talk to my husband about.
24:46 Both of our wants and needs and is encouraged us to talk to her children as well. So they know what it is that we want and not just at the very end, but how we hope to see this play itself out, you know, I work for the institute for human caring and one of the things that we
25:09 You really are a call it push, you know, it's 4.
25:16 Is to have like a trusted decision-maker, you know someone you know and an advance directive so that it takes the burden off of
25:26 Someone or someones when they have to make decisions, you know when someone when they no longer can you know, and so I think that that's really important and I you know, I've been with the institute for less than a year, but I've learned so much, you know about end-of-life and and how to
25:47 Have a you know, how did I well are you in a ways and end to take the burden off of others and yourself when you can't make the the decision? So yeah, I think that everything that the institute for human caring is doing is so important getting this message out to people because it isn't
26:12 It really isn't that difficult to have a good death. If in fact you will allow yourself to have a good death, but we just don't want to talk about death and it makes it so challenging to wait until someone is actually dying to do all of the education. Yeah, so you've done this or some of this with your kids and your husband, how how was that to get it that conversation started cuz you know, it's something that I'm
26:51 You're a jerk close to your age and it's something that for the past since my twenties I've always.
26:58 Sort of known, you know a night.
27:01 What it what care I did or did not want and I've always had an advance directive and made sure that someone in my life would would carry those out just because
27:12 For me, it was always important, but I know for most people it's a it's a tough conversation, especially to have with you're probably with your children and probably tough for them to hear it is but I also did I think that again I have Trinity to thank for that because they know of my involvement and why I'm doing what I'm doing and so it was a pretty natural transition to be able to say and as long as we're talking about it, here's here's what is these are my wishes and Tube to get the advance directive done, you know, and and
27:54 The older you get
27:57 Kind of the closer. It comes a little more challenging it is, you know, sometimes you think you know, but but it's it's they get it they they do they they understand what it is we want and why we want it and I think that it's encouraging them to take serious. Look at what they might want to I mean our kids range in age from 35 to 50. So that's still young. But at the same time they need to be thinking about what it is. They are hoping for for themselves.
28:42 What would you tell other parents are kids if they need to talk about it? You know what their family members what how would you what would you suggest how they get it started?
28:59 I would suggest weather. So a couple of books there's some pamphlets of the The Institute has great information quite as I probably
29:15 I don't know that I really talk about it with other people, but I would I know that I would be able to find the resources for them.
29:28 I mean when you look at when you look at your spectrum of friends, do you think most of them have done that?
29:36 I do think most of them. Yeah, I really do think most of them have done that.
29:44 Yeah, I have a very good friend who passed on on our service and
29:56 I know that.
29:59 She was she was.
30:02 And all of the physical kinds of ways prepared but not in all of the emotional ways prepared.
30:11 And I sat in with a meeting with with with Glenn and her and it was
30:19 Pretty significant was it was really amazing.
30:24 When he just looked at her and said I can take care of everything that you need, but I don't have a pill for fear.
30:39 We need to work on that together. It's not a pill right as a hospice volunteer.
30:49 What were some of the the moments there that you know, I mean you were obviously faced with oh, I think I went eyes alone with no one dies alone. And so like when you would sit with someone and I don't know if you ever sat with anyone who actually passed while you were there, but I mean they were actually arrived and found someone had just passed was and then I had been with several but not
31:22 Instrument enough the same thing was true with with with both of my parents.
31:28 What I have kind of found, is it many people?
31:34 Do you want to be alone?
31:37 And I think that there is still some level of choice in that that not having people present in and that was a conversation I had with some of the no one dies alone people, you know people who have been alone for their whole lives may not really want someone right now, you know often times the person that you were sitting with was not communicative. So you just sat and sometimes play soft music or sometimes if there was any kind of noise or whatever. They may just be a soothing present presents. There were some folks that I remember this one guy younger younger fellow and I went and visited him several times and one of the first things I learned from him was that he loved the Rolling Stones. So we got some Rolling Stones case and that you know, he just listen.
32:37 The Rolling Stones for the next 72 hours, you know cotton and
32:45 Occasionally someone would be really wanting to talk about their anxiety. But for the most part it was just a quiet presence just being being there.
33:02 And you know how I collect these stories and I talked to many and listen to many who work Fallon who are volunteer hospice workers and
33:16 A lot, you know, it's it often seems like someone is either waiting for someone to show up before they before they go or maybe waiting for them to leave the room or you know there seems like it it's surprising to me how much control it seems almost like someone has it in those final few moments of their life, you know that they are with my dad. I am he died the day after Christmas. We all knew he would not die on Christmas Day because he just loved Christmas entirely too much.
33:51 And my son and I had gone over actually not in Palos Verdes living in Long Beach that we've gone over there the day after.
33:59 And you just do know had it for a while and it was
34:05 Pretty clear his he had a full-time caregiver and it was pretty clear that it was it was getting close and I really really sent that. He did not want my son there. And so we laughed and my brother and his wife came and
34:29 We drove train I drove from Long Beach to Palos Verdes and in that. Of time, my dad had passed but my brother said that Dad opened his eyes and he said
34:43 I need to be clean shaven on my way up. So we gave him a shave and that was that was it a few days before that. I've been over to his house and he was laying in bed smiling.
35:01 What are you doing? So well, I'm eating rose petals. So you're eating the rose petals. Okay, I didn't see any rose petals, but he just kept eating the rose petals and he said she keeps bringing them to me and I think that if I eat them, she'll keep coming back will it was my mother because my mother grew roses and so it was really her way of inviting him in because he she was very ready and he really was not and so I think that the Roses really gave him that encouragement that she was the okay. She was the okay. She's I'm here. There was a story I recently edited.
35:51 The person had lost their son or their child.
35:55 And they are at the end they were talking about I need to I need to go down to the pond. Well, that's where they remembered like their child was down at the pond and there were like, okay I need to go.
36:12 It's amazing it is I mean, I mean
36:17 Another thing that I remember with my dad, he was an airline guy and
36:25 So he had been kind of in and out and I was sitting there and he was in one of his more alert kind of places. And you said okay Lynn from here on out.
36:39 Just always fly air angel.
36:44 I said I got a dad from here on out. It's only air angel. I love that. It was it was good.
36:53 Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Just sitting here talking with you and and listening to you before we vinyl wrap up. Is there anything else you'd like to say?
37:07 You know, I think not I so appreciate what you do. I really do appreciate what the Institute is doing and I'm
37:22 I just have such gratitude for Trinity care for what they do, but for really how they have given me such meaning such purpose not always in your sixties. Do you think that you're going to find something that says wow, this is this this makes me feel as if I am leaving something behind that is really valuable. So I I I I think that that is true for most I would hope for most volunteers is that you get so much more than you give but I I did not expect to feel this.
38:00 Blessed by this organization. So so thank you for taking the time to ask me some questions. Appreciate it.
38:11 Thank you. Thank you.