I began volunteering with Hospice several years ago. I have met some remarkable people and yes, in most cases they have gone home (I say ‘in most cases’ because several of my patients have actually graduated out of hospice.)
Earlier this year I was paired with Earlene. When I first met her, she was having a not good day. Her husband was at her side so I visited with him. In our conversation he informed me his name was Ken, that he no longer drove and could only visit with her when someone would drive him in from Eureka, they had been married sixty-two years and she was the love of his life.
As the weeks followed, I visited Earlene each Saturday. She wanted me to read Psalms to her, discovering that my reading out-loud skills were not the best. She tolerated the words I mispronounced, she asked me questions about my life – and that was a first among my clients. She also shared pieces of her life. On one visit, I read the book of Ruth to her and she complimented me on how well I did.
The last time I visited her, she only wanted me to hold her hand and keep her company as she waited for pain medication. I checked on her the week before my knee surgery and they told me she was ‘actively dying’. Earlene did go home to the Lord by the end of the week.
After my knee surgery, I went to one of the twenty-nine rehabilitation facilities approved by my insurance company. My goal was to be a poster child for knee rehab! The facility’s dining room was set with tables for four – enter and sit down – either joining people already there, or wait for whoever would join me. I am a talker by nature so I found meeting people easy.
On my second day there, I encountered Pati, my brother’s second wife, and her parents. Her dad was a resident. I had not seen her since 2011. I was thinking it was a small world.
On the day before I was to go home, I joined Pati’s dad at breakfast. An older gentleman joined us. He was going home the next day, so I asked him where home was and he said he said he did not have a real “home” anymore. He had owned a farm, but no longer. Now he lived in Eureka. His wife had recently died, they had been married 62 years. He sounded defeated.
I asked him if his wife’s name was Earlene. Yes, how did I know? I told him the story I just relayed and we chatted through our meal.
Later at dinner, he stopped by my table. He was so happy. He said he had called his sister-in-law that day and told her about having met someone who knew Earlene. Our conversation had made his day.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what an amazing God we have. My being there at that specific facility, at that time, to meet him and be able to share what a sweet spirit his wife was to me. It was a God thing.
It is not often I can see God’s hand on my life, but oh what a blessing it is when it is so obvious.
“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16
From Jan: “I am a St. Louis native and except for college & a brief stint in Minneapolis – 6 months – have been here all her life. God graciously waited and welcomed her back here 7 years ago. I’m eternally His and am now trying my best to live in service to Him.
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