In our chaplain’s office, we have a small corner for reflection and prayer. There’s a hand labyrinth, some prayer stones to hold as you meditate, and a bowl of memorial rocks. There’s also a small electric candle and a book of prayers.
Some weeks, I need to spend more time in reflection and recovery when a patient dies. Yes, I am a hospice chaplain. And yes, this is part of the work that I do. But depending on a number of factors, it can be harder than usual when I see the notification come across on my email. Logistically, sometimes I can’t be present at the time of death because I’m caring for another patient, another family.
This week I said good-bye to two lovely patients. Yes, they were in hospice and it wasn’t unexpected. But it was still a loss for their families. I heard their stories and their dreams. I felt their grief bubble up, and tried to keep my own feelings checked so that I could help them experience and process their own. I focused on their sources of hope and faith, on the places where they see The Eternal One at work.
And then, I needed to sit with my own feelings, and rest in my own faith. I accept that beauty comes with pain, and joy will come in the morning. I pray and breathe. And… Remember.
Don’t run away from grief, o soul,
Look for the remedy inside the pain,
because the rose came from the thorn
and the ruby came from a stone.