2011-10-20 / General Stories


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I’m Tired of This Roller-Coaster

Jean was friendly and talkative, with a wonderful, dry sense of humor. She’d been moved from the hospital to a nursing home. Cancer had ravaged her body, but her mind was still very sharp.

One day, I found her, Kleenex in hand, tears in her eyes. She looked my way and watched me as I came and sat by her bed.

“How are you, Jean?” I asked.

She sighed and closed her eyes, tears streaking down her cheeks. She took a deep breath and said, “I’m so tired of this roller-coaster.”

Life sometimes resembles a roller-coaster, leaving us breathless, wondering what’s coming next and whether we can handle it. It can be a very wild ride. Maybe that’s why they warn us to stay seated, with our arms and legs completely inside the car.

On a roller-coaster, however, you can see what’s coming next. Life doesn’t grant us that luxury.

Since life is up and down, so are our emotions. Sad, hurt, pleased, content, angry, frustrated, confused, elated, thrilled, depressed, calm, terrified, apprehensive, peaceful, happy, upset. Emotions can be buggers to deal with.

Stuffing them doesn’t work. They only wreak havoc inside, eventually leaking out in unhealthy, relationship-damaging ways. I don’t want to be controlled by them, but rather deal with them responsibly.

I want to ride this roller-coaster as best I can.

“I’m so tired of this roller-coaster.”

We’re in this together, Jean. Here we go. . .

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

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