I'm frequently stopped in my tracks by what people have to say while working with my dying patients, but today, it was an unforgettable day. Some patients are able to talk about how they feel about death and dying and what it means to them, some are unresponsive and never get the opportunity to verbally process some of their thoughts. Today will stick with me forever.
I was visiting with a very special person and it became quiet during our visit. As we sat in silence together this person looked me in the eye and said, I am ready to meet God, my creator. Simple and to the point. I've never had a patient say that to me. I couldn't believe how confident he was when he said those words. I was trying to process how this patient could be so comfortable with death all of the sudden and the journey that it entails. As we finished our visit it became clear to me that my patient was fearful of the journey but had the hope of God, his creator waiting for him in heaven. My patient was asking me if he will journey through "a valley of the shadow" and wondering if it will be a dark time for him. Unfortunately the answers to his questions don't come with my job discription :-). His questions made me wonder the same thing. Is the point that he is at now his "valley" or will that come when he is unresponsive in the dying phase?
I've been processing this all day and looking at life around me completely different. I've always known and believed that God is the creator of ALL things but this now has a more indepth meaning to me. Looking at my little girl tonight, playing with her so full of life and knowing that my patient will soon die and others will pass this evening while I enjoy my time with my family...wow, Life is Precious.