I’m a new hospice volunteer and walk up and down the ward between the two rows of beds with their pale blue sheets 2nd blankets and blue-green curtains that blend with the pale blue-green walls, which echo the green of the garden and the trees outside the windows. The hospice ward is minty, fresh, and light. Smokey, one of the resident cats, finds an empty bed and curls up on it.

“Got a minute?” asks a haggard man with a husky voice.

Of course I do, I have 180 minutes until the end of my shift.

George introduces himself to me. “Sit with me while I smoke,” he says. “Got a light?”

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