THEY SAID IT
Jackie suffered a stroke in her late sixties. Her family took her home, but she needed more care than they could give. After being placed in a nursing home, Jackie continued to slowly decline.
She missed home. She looked and acted depressed. She talked constantly about how her family never came (though the facility staff told a different story).
Funny thing about Jackie – she spoke in a perfectly normal voice, but couldn’t hear me at all. In fact, she couldn’t hear anyone. So we got her a hearing aid.
The next visit, I bounded in, asking, “Hey Jackie. How’re you today?”
“Huh?” she responded.
“How’re you doing?” I repeated, a little louder.
“You’re not wearing your hearing aid, are you?” I yelled.
Glancing around, I spied the hearing aid still in its box beside her in the bed. I raised an eyebrow, giving her a questioning look.
“Ahh!” she said, waving a hand. “That’s just too much trouble”.
When our team compared notes, the truth became clear: It wasn’t that Jackie couldn’t hear us - she didn’t want to. She’d given up.
Jackie’s life had been a war. The guilt was devastating. She felt hopeless.
Some of us have been there. Perhaps we’re there now. Must we muster our feeble strength and do battle again? Yes. Those who love us need us to rise for another day, to believe, to reach out, and to live.
New hope is just around the corner.
Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice and is Minister at First Baptist Church in Lexington