Archive for Skilled Nursing Facility

Why Am I Still Alive?

Alive“Why am I still alive?”

Madge repeated the question, again and again.

Did she ask that question on my first ever visit to a convalescent hospital? Probably not, but it’s the first I recall as a young minister. A twenty-something clergy, just appointed associate pastor at a suburban church, nearly everything in ministry was a new experience. I fumbled through serving communion. I over-prepared for sermons. I felt like the kids in youth group knew more than I did, and definitely outnumbered me. My boss, with decades of church work behind him, was a kind man and excellent senior pastor.

In the beginnings of our work together, he took me on visits, introducing me to the congregation. I entered homes, apartments, emergency rooms, hospitals, job sites, lunched at restaurants with church members, and . . . went to convalescent facilities.

The last was the worst. Well, maybe I should say toughest. No, both. Read More →

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You’ll Accompany Me

BSE45854He was at home.

He was with his family.

His wife, who he said he loved more than life itself, sat by his side.

He had a good death.

Because he enjoyed rock and roll, a lot of music played during his final days at home. Several years from turning fifty, he was young. In those last moments, in those last breaths, there was one particular song that . . .

But I’m getting ahead of the story. It’s a story with a sad ending because a young man dies. It’s also a story with a good enough ending, because of those four opening sentences. How I wish everyone’s death (old or young, rich or poor) had some version of those simple, blessed opening sentences. That won’t happen. Some deaths are hard. Some deaths strip a person or family from any opportunity to prepare or plan. Sometimes we deny impending death and then find ourselves grieving not just the person, but our own blindness or stubbornness. Read More →

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