“Go away! I want to be left alone!” I visited a lady today approaching “transition;” the place we call in hospice between life and death. At first she was ok with me being present, but suddenly she turned bitter. I tried comforting her with poetry, some popular scripture and a dose of encouragement of a better place to come. “I don’t believe any of that stuff!” “What do you believe,” I tried to get her to open up.” “I don’t believe anything! I just want to be left alone!” I respected her wishes and exited the room quietly.
“Don’t go! I don’t want to be left alone!” I visited another lady today who was approaching transition who didn’t want to be left alone. This time my patient verbalized she was ready to die, believed that there was a better place to come, but didn’t want to be left alone. I sat quietly by her bedside holding her hand as she drifted in and out of sleep. Something seemed to startle her and she would snap open her eyes looking in my direction to see if I was still there. “What am I doing wrong, Jeff?” she asked. “Nothing, there’s nothing more for you to do but rest,” I encouraged her.
What a dichotomy. One dying lady wanted me to go away, the other wanted me to stay; all in the same day. Two people, both dying, one wanted help, the other didn’t. I needed to honor them both.
Today seemed to make the other decisions that I thought were important in my life at this time seem a bit trite. I’m in the middle of rebranding my speaking business and ministry, trying to figure out exactly who I am, what I offer to the world and how to say it “just right.” I’m not sure how to put all of that into words.
Ironically, my sweet lady who didn’t want to be left alone didn’t care about any of my latest fancy PR phraseology; she just wanted someone to hold her hand while she was dying.