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2012-01-26 digital edition

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2012-01-26 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

I Feel So Alone

Mildred was well cared for in a nice facility. Her door was decorated to the hilt, and her room was full of pictures of family, friends, and memories from the past.

I was surprised by how dark Mildred’s room was. Never a light on. She’d sit in her recliner facing the window, curtains drawn. It was like a deep, silent cave.

She spoke slowly, and hung her head most of the time.

“Hello, Mildred. How’re you doing today?”

“Like usual,” she’d respond, fiddling with the blanket in her lap. “I feel so alone. That’s life as I know it.” Mildred would then lapse into silence. Later, she’d add, “But I’m fine,” and sport a weak smile.

I’d leave Mildred’s room feeling like I had a huge weight on my shoulders. I imagine that’s the way she felt all the time.

Loneliness is epidemic in our world. We carry smart phones and think that we’re connected. Yet we feel more alone than ever.

I think I feel alone a lot. I don’t really know, because I keep myself too busy to feel or think about it much. How about you?

A friend recently said, “If there’s one thing I know about you, Gary, it’s that you’re not alone.” I’m reminded of Psalm 23 - “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. . .”

Never alone. Never.

“I feel so alone.” We all do sometimes. Thank goodness feelings are not fact.

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

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