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2012-03-29 digital edition

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2012-03-29 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

My Mind Just Will Not Slow Down

Sally was diabetic and struggled with heart disease and a host of other issues. She moved to an assisted living facility and went from walking to a walker to a wheelchair in the span of a year. She tired easily, but was adamant about staying as active as possible. “Got to stay moving,” she’d say. “Once I stop. . .well. . .you know.”

So our visits were often spent in motion, roaming the halls, me walking along beside her as she pushed herself along. She was a mile-a-minute talker, always ready to yak about anything and anybody. She knew the low-down on everyone in the facility, and wasn’t bashful about sharing it. She’d grin and say, “I’m just an old busy-body, you know!”

Sally was often anxious. One day, she looked particularly tense and nervous.

“Sally, are you okay?” I asked.

“Well, yes. But sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy. My mind just will not slow down!”

I can relate. I usually have a dozen or more things going on in my head. Sometimes I forget whether I’m coming or going. Ever drive somewhere and then not remember the drive? That’s me.

I wonder how much of life I miss while preoccupied, distracted, or on autopilot.

Can anybody else relate?

The people around us deserve better. When I’m with someone, I want to be all there. They need that, and so do I.

“My mind just will not slow down!” You’re not alone, Sally.

Slow down, O mind of mine!

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

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