Archive for Prayer – Page 2

A Hospice Patient’s Hand-Me-Down Gifts

We can never experience what another touched, heard, smelled, tasted, or saw.

For example, I’ve been with friends that ordered a favorite dish at a restaurant and asked me to give it a try. Just a bite!

“Delicious, right?” my table companion gushed.

Not really, I concluded after a nibble. If I’m polite, I’ll mumble thanks for the, for me, underwhelming cuisine. My taste buds are different than yours; yours different than mine. It’s the same with all of our senses and sensibilities. Variety, don’t they say, is the spice of life?

Or can we experience another’s perspective? Even in hospice? Read More →

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Dying in the Middle Room

a renovated suburban house with several rooms...

A renovated suburban house with several rooms…

The patient was restless.

An ambulance brought her to our hospice’s home—a renovated suburban house with several rooms—for pain management. She was also close to death. The only local family for the seventy-something woman was a granddaughter, overwhelmed by raising her kids and trying to be her grandmother’s caregiver. The patient’s siblings had already died. The patient’s daughter was, again, in rehab. A son, an Army officer, was traveling from somewhere in Europe, hoping to see his mother before she died.

[For disclaimer, click here.]

Right now, in the hospice home, in the middle room with its two beds, there was only the dying, restless patient, a nurse, the doctor, and the chaplain. One bed was empty. But the second bed, where the patient lay, shifted with her unsettled body, with her soft random moaning, with her eyes opening and closing. Read More →

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All For The Better

Once, as a hospice chaplain . . .

The social worker and I decided to visit together. We shared some patients and two were miles from the hospice office. Carpooling was a good use of resources. Additionally, the families wouldn’t be interrupted by one-more-phone-call to schedule a visit.

On the way there, I confided, “You know, this does defeat part of our impact.”

“What do you mean?”

“We won’t get much of a chance for one-on-one encounters. A lot of what we do is based on being with the patient or family member. Having another person around changes that.”

“Oh,” was mostly what she replied. On we drove, excellent stewards of hospice resources.

holding-handsAt the first visit, the husband was the patient. Chairs encircled his bed. Since he was hard-of-hearing, I initially stood beside the bed, speaking loudly. He kept chatting; I listened. Occasionally I’d raise my voice to pose a question. During that time the social worker and the patient’s elderly wife and daughter retreated to the living room. Later, I joined the women in the living room. “Perfect timing,” the social worker said. “We were just talking about . . .” And soon the wife and daughter asked how to best engage their 88-year old husband/father in a conversation about dying. I could answer, because he and I had just shared about his feelings. They also welcomed my comments about how much his wife represented an essential part of his spiritual support. “Really?” the wife marveled. “He said that about me?” She grinned, obviously pleased. Read More →

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