2012-05-03 / Church


(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)
Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is interim Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington

I Wish They Would Let Me Go!

Maybelle was the matriarch of her family. When her husband died several decades previously, she didn’t miss a beat. “I didn’t have time to grieve,” she said. “I had children to feed.”

Her family was her life. Now they surrounded her hospital bed in the living room of her oldest daughter’s home. They were with her round the clock. Though exhausted, she’d pump herself up for every interaction.

One day I shooed the family out of the room, hoping to give Maybelle a break. When they closed the door, she let out a long, heavy sigh. “Thank goodness,” she exclaimed.

She stared at the ceiling for several moments. “I wish they would let me go,” she said.

Later I talked with the family about letting go. They just stared at me. They didn’t want Granny to go. They were going to hang on until the last possible moment.

Over the next few days, I watched them soften. They grew quiet, contemplative. Their visits were shorter. Finally, one evening they told her it was okay if she went on.

“We’ll miss you, Granny. We love you.” they said.

Maybelle passed that night.

Something happens to us when we love someone deeply. We begin to depend on them, and start building our world around them. If we’re not careful, our love becomes more about what we think we need rather than our loved one’s ultimate good.

“I wish they would let me go.”

Maybe we need to consider letting go a little more.

Return to top

Digital Edition

2012-05-03 digital edition

Today's Special Links