Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 29, 2016
In Which I Visit Hospice
I paid a visit to a dear, senior friend today. He is in a care center. He is in hospice care. The time is short. It won’t be long, now.
Even though I had not seen him often in the past eight or ten years, he and his wife lived in the same area my husband and I live in. We would run into each other on occasion. I haven’t seen him for almost a year. He has changed markedly.
We have a number of mutual friends and acquaintances, too. I understand—from the nurses’ station—that he has a number of visitors each day, trooping in and out of his room. A well-liked man, and a man with a definite sense of humor. I will miss him very much.
I feel odd, seeing my friend in hospice. He isn’t supposed to be there, in that hospital bed. He is supposed to be hale, and hearty, and making wise cracks. His wife would laugh, except when he made bad puns. (As would happen on occasion.)
He is not making wise cracks any longer. Sadly.
I know the drill. I was a hospital chaplain for almost ten years. What the heck, I have seen relatives and close friends in the hospital. I’ve been a pastor for more than two years, and I’ve seen parishioners in hospital beds before. But, somehow, this patient is somehow different.
When I spoke to him today (softly, but not too softly—in a gentle, reassuring voice), I identified myself. I let him know that I was there, at his bedside. He actually smiled at me, and squeezed my hand. For a while.
I hope I was encouraging. I pray that my visit was a support and a help to my friend. God willing, it was. God bless my friend, and my friend’s wife—also my friend. God, give them both strength, to continue. God, give them both encouragement Allow them to feel the love and caring from so many. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.
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