Evanescence (II)

[Please read Part 1 first.] 2. Living in a Desert A hospital is parallel universe. Even as a member of staff it is possible to be admitted by the front doors and have an extended stay, being able to wash, have a haircut, buy food, enjoy café society, eat, and even sleep there – as … Continue reading Evanescence (II)

Evanescence (I)

To keep death before one's eyes daily. Rule of St Benedict, Chapter IV 1. The Hospital is a Desert As I have written here before, I was a hospital chaplain for about 8 years. It was difficult work and I struggled, but I count this time as a blessing. I encountered God on many occasions. … Continue reading Evanescence (I)

Failure of Memory

In the last few days I have sat with two people with failing memories. One could not remember that their spouse had died in the last few hours, could not remember being there, the time and place, the last conversation. The other, who plaintively, anxiously asks for a sibling who visits every afternoon with a … Continue reading Failure of Memory

Thoughts at a bedside

What are we doing when we sit in prayer with a person as they are dying? The prayer, the blessing, is in the particulars: these lines and wrinkles; this graying hair; these tired, baggy eyes; this pattern of breath; this body, these cells that hold all, all, all that this person is. Has this person … Continue reading Thoughts at a bedside

Thomas and Friends

I was listening to a patient (RIP 7 June) this morning talking about how useless she feels just lying in bed all day without anything to do, feeling guilty that everyone is looking after her, being so kind, and that she can't help anyone in return. I was reminded of the stories of Thomas the … Continue reading Thomas and Friends