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2011-06-23 digital edition

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2011-06-23 / General Stories

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

“I’m Older Than I Was”

I have the honor of working as a hospice chaplain. I get to enter the lives of families when one of their loved ones has six months or less to live. I pray continually that God will use me and make me a blessing in the lives of our patients and families. Yet I’m often the one who walks away encouraged, blessed, and challenged.

Here is one example. Sally had recently had a stroke. Suddenly what little independence she had was gone. In the span of a year, she had been moved from her home to an assisted living facility and then to a nursing home. She talked about her world getting smaller and smaller.

One day when I visited her, her face lit up as and she broke out in a wide grin. “Well hello there! I’m so glad you are here! It’s so good to see you!” she said. “It’s great to see you too. How’re you doin’ today, Sally?” I asked.

She thought for a moment, got a slightly mischievous look in her eye, and said, “Well, I’m older than I was!”

We laughed for a while about that one. But her simple statement struck me. Later, as I walked out of the building, I could not get that statement out of my mind. “Well, I’m older than I was.”

“No kidding,” I thought. Time marches on. Sally had unknowingly reminded me that my time is limited, maybe more limited than I think. I am older than I was.

I have today. I want today to count. I want to do the important things today. I want to make a difference. I am older than I was.

Thanks Sally.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is interim Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington

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