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2013-04-11 digital edition

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2013-04-11 / Church

THEY SAID IT

(Life Lessons from Hospice Patients)

Jesus was, and is, his Best Friend

Leroy suffered with dementia for years. It finally progressed to the point where his body was shutting down. By the time I began my hospice visits, he could no longer speak. He just looked at me and smiled.

Leroy’s family told me he was a man of very strong faith. “Jesus was, and is, his best friend,” his sister said. “I’m not the least bit worried about him spiritually.”

During my visits with Leroy, I read the Bible, prayed, and sang. He would smile and sometimes even hum along.

One day I walked in and found Leroy staring at the far corner of the ceiling. He glanced at me, smiled, and pointed up. He raised both his hands. He was reaching out for something, or someone. He was beaming.

I stayed silent for several minutes. Leroy kept gazing raptly at that corner of the ceiling, raising his hands periodically.

I wasn’t surprised when I got the call that night that Leroy had passed. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words from John 14: “I go now to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back for you, so that you may be where I am.”

I believe Leroy was reaching out to his best friend, Jesus. He was ready.

Jesus is preparing a place for us too. Are we preparing ourselves for that place?

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice

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