Matters of Life and Death

2012 August 015-001

c. A Hospital Patient

The page came in while I was tending to a family in the ICU. “The patient in room _ wants to see you.” It was a couple of hours before I made it over there.

The darkened room had enough illumination to see a figure in the bed…and a lot of tubes.

I introduced myself and waited. Silence. Sometimes the request itself uses all the available energy. A few mumblings rose from the bed. I pulled up a chair and offered to listen to whatever stirrings of the heart preceded my invitation. Sometimes it’s a confession or a series of random thoughts. Turns out they weren’t so random.

With a clarity that surprised both of us, the musings began…

You know, the big things in life aren’t important but the small things are everything.

I nearly gasped at the significance of those words at a time like this.

The soliloquy continued…Crazy how we have everything we need right next to us but we always want so much more.

 The voice got stronger… The very best thing in life is a cup of coffee on your brother’s deck and we think we need to go to Tuscany.

As you can see, I started scribbling notes on my patient list.  I wanted to remember every part of this rule of life.

So I think I figured it out…

Believe in God

Family First

Be kind to every soul you meet

The patient fell back on the pillow, the very utterance of the words was exhausting, but the previous pallor brightened to almost a glow. Wish you could have seen it.

I encouraged passing this newly clarified wisdom to the family as part of the legacy then said a prayer. A visitor showed up and I exited to follow the next page.

But I haven’t forgotten the charge and I hope you don’t either.

Believe in God

Family First

Be kind to every soul you meet

Hope for the best,



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