Sunday, November 18, 2012

How Can I Ever Thank You Enough?

Hello my dear friends,

I'm sitting in front of my computer while dinner is sizzling on the stove.  The one surviving gold fish is swimming gracefully in the tank across from me, searching diligently for food.  My dachshund Zoe is also scouring the floor like a little vacuum cleaner, hoping and praying for something edible that fell to the floor.  For dogs, that means anything.  Nat is in the other room playing games on his phone.  He returns tomorrow to work in the City, commuting in on the BART train.  It is Sunday evening and I'm feeling a bit unsettled.  I am off tomorrow, with some personal business to tend to.  But, Tuesday is the beginning of another work week for me, when I will load up my Jeep and my computer, and head to beautiful Sonoma County.  We are both exhausted with our commutes, but I feel very  blessed as one who gets to work with the staff of Memorial Hospice, as a Chaplain.  It's hard work, but it is also work that I can feel good about when it is all said and done.  It is something that I feel called to do... to help people with their spiritual concerns at the end of their lives.  At least for now.

I recently met a woman and her son in their home after receiving a referral from one of our RNs.  After I described myself as being like a pastor, she asked me if I have my own church. I looked around the room, and at her and her son, and said, "This is my church."  I continued, "People like you can't get to a church right now, so I have come to you to help you through this time."  She smiled and was happy that hospice offered this service.  She is struggling to come to terms with her life, what it all means, her faith in God, and the doubts and concerns that she is grappling with as she approaches the end of her life.  It must be very, very difficult and scary to know you are dying.  But in some ways it is a gift because some amazing things happen along the way, such as the healing of one's spirit, reconciliation to God and estranged family members, and priceless memories and conversations with loved ones that take on such a deeper meaning when you know that time is limited.  And it is a GIFT that I get to spend time with this amazing woman and hear her life story.  I learn so much from my patients.  They are truly a gift to me.  

So beyond my work, what am I thankful for?  Well, I am thankful for today.  For my husband, son, brothers and sisters, friends, and colleagues.  Every day is a gift.  Life is a gift.  Each breath we breathe is a gift from God.  Thank you for all of you - every last person - that I meet and exchange a smile with, or a few words, a lunch, a work-day, an afternoon, or a life-time.  I  love you all... REALLY, I do! Thank-you!

Chaplain Nancy

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