Last Wednesday, Allen the nurse, Angie the Respiratory Therapist, and I—along with many others—assisted in making one man’s and his family’s final wishes come true. The gentleman was battling cancer for a third time in his life and was informed that, even with a trach and PEG, he did not have long to live. Along with this, his premature granddaughter had just been released from the NICU. Therefore, he and his family finally decided to go to hospice, so he could see his granddaughter one last time, for she had become his greatest joy. After the man got settled into his room at hospice and before being extubated, the family brought in the beautiful baby girl. With eyes focused on her, everyone surrounded the bed and watched the grandfather gently stroke the baby while the infant reached for his finger. A quiet solemnity fell over the room as tears ran down the faces of several observers. Several minutes later, the mother of the baby took her into the other room, and the medical team proceeded with extubating the gentleman with only his wife at his side. Afterwards, as I said my goodbyes to the patient and his family, the man mouthed to me, “Thank you.” He died about an hour later—around 2:30 pm—that same day. It is sometimes in these most difficult and intimate moments that we ourselves receive the greatest blessings.
Shall we pray—
Lord, after having recently celebrated Thanksgiving, we thank You for Who You are and for how You interact with us in this world. Let us silently reflect on a verse from Laura Story’s song “Blessings”:
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
In Your name we pray, Amen.