“It doesn’t really matter whether you grip the arms of the dentist’s chair or let your hands lie in your lap. The drill drills on.”
― C.S Lewis
I visited an elderly man in the hospital yesterday.
His lips were trembling as he tried with all of his strength to respond to my questions. He was unable to get a recognizable word out. The man was dying. What affected me the most wasn’t so much that he was dying. Dying is a part of life and I believe to have sober perspective on death.
What has shaken me, then?
He was alone.
To die alone must be a terrible experience.
I did not know how to communicate or comfort him, so I simply held his hand and sat with him while we watched the Price is Right on the small hospital room television.
After a good 15 minutes I grabbed the man’s hand tightly and prayed the Holy Spirit would give him inner peace and rest. I couldn’t look into his eyes for I was afraid my emotions would overcome me.
When I finished, he tried to speak but was too weak. Not knowing what to say I pointed out the window and said, “what an amazing view.” He was on the 8th floor at St. Francis Hospital and you could see the big white cross from Wesley hospital buried within the trees on Hillside. He looked out the window and back at me and tried to say something. I nodded, acting like I knew what he was trying to say.
I smiled at him, squeezed his hand, and left the room.
I just received an email he passed away last night.