OPINION

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Another Unsung Hero

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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To the Editor:

I’m grateful God has allowed me the ability (in my old age at least) to sense positive things even in the midst of tragedy or otherwise sad events.

Not always, of course, but often enough for me to notice.

Earlier in the summer I shared my experience watching volunteer firemen come to the aid of a friend's burning house. I was amazed that so many would absolutely swarm to your home if it was burning. It touched my heart to see so many non-paid volunteers earnestly trying to save my neighbor's house - and they did to!

Today's story is a little different...it's about a home hospice nurse in another county. Someone whose name I don't even know. But who ministered to an old friend in his last days of life. Someone with whom I'd had a cherished friendship for nearly half a century.

It all started when I heard my old friend was seriously ill, and in home hospice care. It didn't take long to realize I needed to go quickly if I was to see him - the family had been told it was only a matter of days. So, the next morning I headed out. I arrived on what turned out to be his last day, and he was too sick for me to talk with him. But his family was gracious enough to allow me to be close by while they tended to him. But when he didn't recognize his own sons, I sensed his remaining time would be short.

At first, I didn't realize who the lady sitting by his bedside even was. I just stood in the hallway, looking in from outside the bedroom. It was one of his sons (who took a very brief break to greet me) who told me the woman beside the bed was the hospice nurse. I stood about three feet behind her for about half an hour. But she never even turned around. She was completely focused on ministering to my very sick friend. So focused, I doubt she even knew I was there. She displayed only one interest - the patient who needed her.

My old friend had cancer, and his body was in physical distress as he approached the end. Even with morphine, the distress at that point was too much for him to rest. And then I heard the soothing words of the hospice nurse speaking to my old friend. She told him to "lay your head down on my shoulder...and take a little nap.” And, although my friend had not been responding even to his own sons since my arrival, he immediately lay his head on her shoulder. He responded to her soothing voice, and was comforted. It was a tender and touching scene, however brief.

My friend died that very night. I'll never forget him. Nor will I ever forget the tender care given him by that hospice nurse. And thinking of her these last few days has caused me to reflect on something Jesus said that's recorded in the gospels. When asked by a mother to grant her sons high placement in "thy kingdom,”, Jesus responded by saying "...whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” A clear indication that those who willingly and selflessly minister to the needs of others will be highly favored in the heavenly realm.

Sincerely & respectfully,