The Journey from Soccer Mom to Hospice Social Worker…


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Turkey Run State Park Indiana.

Barb’s mom and dad moved to Indiana to a retirement place near us in Franklyn Indiana. They lived there for a few years. It was nice having them for holidays (Thanksgiving and the others). Barb’s mom passed away in 2007 her dad in 2009. Barb is adopted so these were her adoptive parents. I know that it was devastating for her losing both of them. She really struggled with who she was and what would come next. Barb met her biological mother before she and I met, and her biological mother and one of her 1/2 siblings attended our wedding (it was her younger half sister). But Joan and Les Ralstin were mom and dad. They were there through Barb’s growing up and becoming the person she is. Barb grieved for a couple of years trying to reconcile all of what was going on. Out of that grieving she realized that she watned to become a social worker. She wanted to help other people struggling with similar loses, with the loss of family and friends. So she went back to school to get her Master’s degree.

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Turkey Run state park. I always thought it should have been named Run, TURKEY, RUN!!! Park. But that’s just me.

So, Barb enrolled in the Masters program at IUPUI. She was one of the older students in her group (and graduated with the highest possible honors). The student that struggled to finish her bachelors in 10 years (but never stopped, never quit and got it) started on her Masters. Barb is a person that sets goals, just like me. So when our goals are aligned we move very quickly. I would love to say that we were fully aligned on her going back to school, we weren’t for awhile so the startup period was a lot harder than it had to be. We were trying to find our path and way forward. We did eventually reach our equilibrium. As Barb worked through the various roles that social workers take she decided that her calling was in Hospice. She wanted to help people going through what she had gone through, the pain of losing a loved one (or more than one loved one). She actually works with dying children as well as traditional hospice patients. It takes a great deal of caring for others, to be a hospice person. Like teachers they are not paid enough. Barb finished her Masters in 4.5 years. The final coursework was done after we moved to Maryland. She actually got her final practicum at a great Hospice here in Maryland and when the practicum was done, they hired her!

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