Saturday, December 13, 2008


The husband of a hospice patient who died a few months ago is now in the hospital himself. A granddaughter stopped by to let us know and ask if I could visit him. I went over that evening and found this lovely gentleman on a vent in the ICU. I guess he has been found to have serious heart trouble and also cancer, and has undergone a couple of serious surgeries. He has a lot going against him medically, and the stress from the loss of his wife is a huge additional factor. He really adored her and, in her last days, he alternated between trying to be strong for her and the children and grandchildren and simply weeping at the loss. His granddaughter is afraid he'll "give up." I kind of hate that language as it implies that death is a failure, and who could blame this gentleman if he just wants to be with his wife? The family, though, at least some members, are still reeling from the earlier loss and don't want to imagine losing him as well, and who could blame them either? Given all that he has been through in terms of cancer and surgeries, I don't know what his quality will look like if he survives this hospitalization, so I hope that what is best for him is what happens, and that his family will find the support they need whatever comes about. This is the second time in the last couple of months that I've visited a widowed husband in the hospital. The first one did die, which seemed understandable, as he told me that two combat tours as a paratrooper had been indescribably difficult but only a drop in the bucket compared to the difficulty of losing his beloved wife. Both of these widowed husbands have been really wonderful men, good husbands and fathers, beloved in their families. And I have loved them, too. It's hard to see them suffer...

I am especially lucky to have a couple of friends whose mere existence makes the world a far better place. I don't see them often enough due to demands of their lives and mine, but I did run into one of them earlier this week. He's a program director for a local nonprofit that provides emergency assistance to individuals and families. It was pure, pure joy to see him and talk to him--he's one of those people whose main decision point, about anything, is "What is the RIGHT thing to do?" This focus, rather than a focus on expediency or a focus on money, can put him in opposition to organizational structures at times but he is absolutely steadfast. He told me that the needs for emergency assistance in the community he serves have at least tripled in the last few months with the downturn in the economy. Sobering. On the other hand, he is one of the funniest people in the entire world and he always leaves me laughing. He has at least a couple of books in him, and I hope with all my heart he writes them!

Speaking of books, one of my classmates at seminary has published her first. I recommend it without reservation; it's Salvation on the Small Screen, and its author is Nadia who blogs at The Sarcastic Lutheran. It's for those with a healthy skepticism, an interest in theological reflection, and a stiff sense of humor. I sat in the local coffee shop laughing out loud through it, and my brother and sole blog reader also enjoyed it.

And speaking once more of books, I think our craziest mortuary driver should write one as well. Oh, the stories. SUCH stories!!!

And the reason this post is so boring is that I worked all night Thursday and my body clock is completely out of whack. I could sleep for a week, though I don't need to!


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