The look is familiar now.   A family huddled together, talking on cell phones, standing pensively at a bed.  These folks so want more; there must be more.  Another treatment, a new drug, an answer – a miracle.  

Lauren was one of these family members.  Her mother arrived yesterday.

“It just can’t be like this, my mother was only supposed to go in for a simple procedure – really a hospital pit stop – before a trip to Florida to visit my brother.”  But tests discovered an intestinal blockage.  Surgery confirmed tumors that were inoperable.  The hospital did all that it could; hospice became the best option.

“It’s just not fair, she has so much to live for.”  I hear about 8 children, 15 grandchildren, and even 2 great grandchildren – of graduations and birthdays and next week’s Halloween costumes.

“How can this be?  Lauren keeps repeating, “how can this be?”

Indeed, how can this be, and yet it is.  Hospice care comes one person at a time, one family at a time. Yet the questions can be so daunting and only a fool would offer platitudes.  

In mentoring a young seminarian new to hospital ministry, Mychal Judge once said that “God would give you the words to say, and if not, then just be quite and present.”  

Quite and present.  It was great advice today.


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