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2012-07-26 digital edition

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2012-07-26 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

Then I Woke Up

Eunice was a delight to visit. She made sure you knew she was a native Texan and that she’d grown up “just right down the road there.” Often wrapped in a sweater and blanket, with the heat up to 80, she was friendly, talkative, and just flat funny.

Here are some of her responses to a simple, “How’re you today?”:

“Older than I was, younger than I will be.”

“Lousy. What’re you going to do about it?”

“Just trying to keep from molding.”

“I have no idea. Why don’t you tell me?”

Eunice struggled with dementia. Conversations were often disjointed and unpredictable, but never dull. Often, she thought she was on a cruise, and called me “Captain.” We really went some places together.

Once, when talking about some trouble in her past, she popped off with the following: “I was doin’ all the bossin’. Thought I could handle anything. Then I woke up.”

Bossing. Something everybody seems to enjoy doing, but nobody likes being on the receiving end of. I don’t know a single person who enjoys being bossed around.

I don’t know about you, but I’m never guilty of bossing. I’m just giving good advice (that nobody asked for). I’m just helping out by organizing (what was just fine before I stuck my nose into it). I’m just doing this for others (when they needed to do it for themselves).

Bossing? Never.

Maybe I need to wake up.

Thanks, Eunice. Welcome aboard, and watch your step.

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

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