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2013-07-18 digital edition

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2013-07-18 / Church

THEY SAID IT

Life Lessons from Hospice Patients

Sometimes we find ourselves where we don’t want to be. The unexpected happens. We lose a friend, a loved one, or perhaps our health. The color goes out of life. Our hearts ache. Our hope fades.

Such must have been the case for Margaret. I lead a Bible Study and see several hospice patients at the facility where she is a resident. Margaret is usually maneuvering her wheelchair up and down the back hallway, head down, mumbling to herself.

As I was walking down the main corridor, I saw Silvia, another resident.

“Howdy Silvia! How are you today?” I shouted.

Silvia smiled and waved, but I heard a voice to my right boldly say, “Same as every day! Miserable!”

It was Margaret.

I looked at her and smiled. She scowled. Without really thinking, I said, “I’m so sorry, Margaret.”

Margaret dropped her eyes, and her lips began to quiver. She raised her hand, turned her wheelchair around and moved slowly back toward her room.

My heart sank as I watched her. I wanted to help, but she had made it clear to me, and others, that she was not open to encouragement. I felt sad.

At Bible Study that day we talked about the power of hopelessness. What do we do when our joy dies, when our hearts have been crushed?

Margaret’s fellow residents had some answers. Don’t give in. Don’t give up. Cry. Scream. Keep moving. Exercise. Get out of your room. Reach out. Look up. Get involved in the lives of others. There’s always something to be thankful for.

Life is a battle. Our hearts need us to fight.

Gary Roe is the Chaplain of Southern Care Hospice. Visit him on his website at www.garyroe.com

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