“Above all, love each other deeply…” – 1 Peter 4:8a NIV
“The first thank you note I write must be to you. I am very grateful for the help and comfort you so freely gave to mother and me…”
As I read the thank you note, my mind filled with memories. It was late on a Wednesday afternoon when the phone rang. The tightness I heard in the woman’s voice indicated that she was holding back tears. Her mother, whom I had visited many times at a nursing home, was having a difficult day. I agreed to visit her mother on my way home.
As I walked down the hallway to her room, one of the aides said, “I hope you have on your armor. No one can do anything right for her today. She hollers and complains when anyone goes into her room. Even her daughter left in tears.”
I found the woman sitting in a wheelchair next to her bed. “What are you doing here?” she asked angrily. “Is that any way to greet a friend?” I said. “I came to see how you are doing. Obviously, you’re not pleased with that.” Calmly she said, “No, I’m glad you are here.”
She said she had been praying for God’s help. When I asked what she needed help with, she said, “I want it to end. I want the suffering to stop, but I’m afraid to be alone.”
I guided her through a review of the details I knew of her life; as a young widow, she had raised four children alone. The courage and determination that she showed in her journey through life amazed me. Listening to her was like watching the fall colors come alive during an October sunrise. The unique way that God works in each person’s life is awesome.
I asked her if she had any regrets. Her eyes filled with tears. “It’s been 40 years since anyone held me in their arms,” she said. I knelt beside the wheelchair and put my arms around her. I hummed “Amazing Grace” as best I could, and in about 15 minutes she was asleep.
“Whatever you said was what Mother needed to hear. … She died Friday evening in her sleep. I believe you are responsible for helping Mother end her suffering. I am happy knowing she is finally home.”
Shared from the Sacred Stories Archive
Questions for Reflection
How are creativity and compassion related?
When have you seen compassion ease the pain of another person?
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