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2012-02-16 digital edition

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2012-02-16 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

Please Don’t Rush Off

Gene was in his late eighties. He was in pain and short of breath most of the time. He could still get around, shuffling slowly up and down the halls using his walker. It was his mind that was the real challenge.

His short-term memory was virtually gone. Every time I visited, he was meeting me for the first time. We had the same conversation over and over.

Yet, he loved visits. He was lonely. His family rarely came. Most of his friends had already passed on. Another person sitting down with him was a real treat.

Though most of my visits with Gene were lengthy, he always had the same reaction when I stood up to go. “You’re leaving?” he’d say. “Please don’t rush off. Stay a while.”

Does that tug on your heart strings? It sure did mine.

A friend asked me once if I was Russian. I asked him why. “Because you’re always rushing.”

Rushing through life. One thing after another. Busy. Do you ever lie in bed at night wondering where the day went? I do.

We live busy lives in a fast-paced, demanding world. We might accomplish a lot, but what kind of price are we paying? Are we moving too fast?

Sometimes, I would like to just slow down and stay a while.

My generation didn’t do much sitting and visiting. At least, not like my parents’ generation did. I believe we missed out.

“Please don’t rush off. Stay a while.”

We hear you, Gene.

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

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