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Mindful : February 2014
50 mindful February 2014 To view a trailer of David Marshall’s documentary film Beginning with the End, go to mindful.org/hospice Clockwise from top: student Jamir Avery, 18, works on the hospice class’s year-end project, a quilt made of squares dedicated to the memory of hospice residents the students met during the year. Madeline McGrain Githler at The Harley School. Students take a few moments of silence after learning that hospice resident Chet Nothhard died. From left, Caitlin Richard, Meghan Sita Dewan, Saul Cohen, and Emily Hanss, with teacher Bob Kane. is a Cowboys shirt. Kayli now knows that a field goal is worth three points, but he taught her about more than football. “John was 52,” says Kayli. “It was definitely weird for me, thinking ‘Wow, that could be my pa rents right now.’ “He was a huge a football fan,” she says. “Every- one would come over on Sunday—family a nd friends, all wearing their jerseys, and they’d watch football with him all day. John had a wife a nd three children, ages 12, 14, and 23, and they were often at the hospice. But some days, it was just him and Kayli. “I feel like I got the whole experience with him,” she says. “ I met the whole family, but I would also get his dinner togeth- er, help him eat, put him to bed.” What did Kayli learn through John? “That every- one is going to go. My parents aren’t going to live forever, and I can only hope they are in such a good environment when they are dying.” Other lessons emerge in the students’ sha ring class. Andrew Regelski, 18, notes the contrast between hospice and other classes, most of which have a competitive aspect. “In this class, all of those barriers are eliminated. We’re all just people and we’re working together to help other people. It’s ironic how ma ny life lessons you learn in a class about death and dying.” Sofoniyas Worku, 18, a native of Ethiopia, lost his aunt and a friend to malaria. “I used to think it was terrible when someone died. But now I know they’re usually in pain and then they’re not in pain any more. They’re resting; they’re in a better place; they’re not taking horrible medications.” David Marshall is an Emmy Award-winning documentar y filmma ker who followed Bob Kane’s classes at Harley for two years. His not-for-profit or- ganization, Blue Sky Project, creates and distributes documentar y films focused on underreported social issues. In his film Beginning with the End (which is complete but has not yet hit the film-festival circuit), the question Marshall seeks to answer is: Can empa- thy be taught? “At hospice, you never hear students talk about money, position, power, the clothes they wea r, or the