Several months ago, my husband and I made the long drive down to Georgia to bid our final good-byes to his mother. Leah had been battling cancer for awhile, but a few days beforehand, the family received word that she had drastically declined in her condition.
Arriving to the nursing home, we stepped into the dark room that had only sunlight streaming through the single window and came across a woman wearing a sundress, resting under a handcrafted blanket. Shortly after our arrival, the nurse gave us a medical update, explaining that recently Leah had been more awake at night.
After several hours of sitting vigil at her bedside with periodic breaks, more family arrived, and we all gathered together at this woman’s side.
Knowing that Jeff could sing, his sister Valerie asked him, “Do you know the words to ‘In the Garden?’”
Within a few moments, a chorus arose with us all singing the familiar hymn.
“What other songs did Mom like?” Valerie then asked.
With tears streaming down our faces as we sang some more songs in the midst of reflecting upon good memories, the night focused upon Leah and what she would desire. Placing aside any differing thoughts and opinions, we united as a family to honor a woman for whom we all cared.
Setting aside our differences is what a medical team does to offer the best care for the patient. We each approach every care plan with our own individual opinions. However, we have to all step back and consider the primary goal of our care, that is, to acknowledge, respect, and carry out the patient’s wishes. Thus, at that point, our differences no longer divide but unite us in delivering the same mission.
Lord, we acknowledge right now that we need to come together, and we ask that You guide us in this process with every one of our patients. Amen.