2011-10-27 / Community News


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

What’s Going to Happen?

Stella had been battling cancer for almost two decades. Originally from England, her husband served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. She’d endured the bomb shelters and the devastation of London. She was a fighter.

Her cancer was advancing, and she was getting weaker by the day. She began making phone calls, telling others she loved them, saying the things she needed to say. She grew more contemplative.

One day when I visited her, she was in bed, staring straight ahead, a box of tissues on her stomach. I sat down and took her hand. She began to softly weep.

After several moments, she said, “I’ve survived a lot. But I’m not going to survive this.” Looking over at me, she asked, “Gary, what’s going to happen?”

I think I’ve a pretty good grip on what’s going to happen ultimately. But when it comes to the details of what’s going to happen next, I’m often stumped. I get surprised all the time.

I somehow believe it’d be easier if I knew what was coming next. Then again, I might try to prevent something, and inadvertently cause something else. I’m just not in control. Never have been. Never will be.

The plan is intricate and complex. It’s a good plan, a great plan. I’ve been included in it. So have you.

“What’s going to happen?”

God knows. It’s in the plan.

Thanks for the reminder, Stella

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

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