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2011-09-15 digital edition

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2011-09-15 / General Stories

THEY SAID IT (Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Did This to Myself

Randy was young but dying of liver cancer. When I first visited him, he limped unsteadily to the door with a cane and quickly sat down to catch his breath. He was terribly thin.

After some introductions, I asked, “How’re you doing with all this, Randy?”

“Lousy. And I did this to myself. I deserve this,” he replied.

Then he told me his story. He began drinking and using at an early age, and his addictions took over his life. This led to a string of broken relationships along the way. With his head down, staring at the floor, he said, “I’m a disaster. It would’ve been better if I’d never been born.”

Six months later I made my last visit to Randy. He had gained weight. His lab results were improving. He was stronger, steady on his feet, and about to be discharged from hospice. He was packing to go live with a son he had not seen since the boy was three years old.

He grinned, looked me in the eye, and said, “I’ve been given a second chance. I’m taking it.”

What happened? He stopped using. He stopped drinking. He discovered how much God loved Him. He found forgiveness.

I bring a lot of sorrow on myself by how I think, speak, and act. It’s not just what I do, but often what I don’t do that’s the problem. I don’t know what I would do without second (third, fourth, and fifth. . .) chances.

Thanks, Randy. Hope you are doing well.

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

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