Published on May 25, 2023
Submitted by Deborah Lynn, Chaplain
I love my work as an Alive Chaplain. It is truly a privilege to be invited into the innermost presence of another human being. And we never know when or where love and compassion will be needed most.
Recently, one of my patients, Mr. Jones, died in the hospital. I came to support him and his family as his ventilator was being removed that day. By the time I arrived, the ventilator was already withdrawn. The hospital chaplain had already prayed with the family, and they were holding a quiet vigil. As I left, I worried that I had let them down or missed the moment when I was most needed.
As I walked to the elevator, I noticed a woman sitting on the window ledge who looked quite sad. I asked if she wanted company. She explained that her brother was down the hall, but she could not be in the room with him and the family as he died. It triggered too many hard memories of her mother’s suffering and death.
She was talking about Mr. Jones. I invited her to share more, and she began talking, sharing her grief, her sorrow, her shame for not being in the room. When she had calmed, I asked if she would like me to offer a prayer. We prayed together, right there at the window by the elevator. I hadn’t missed the moment I was needed for. This was the visit calling me to drive across town in rush hour traffic.