In March 2021 we had a season of 12 Days of Gospel Stories. We’re now reproducing these stories here for all to see and be inspired by!
Gospel Renewal in a Hospice context happens when space is created for patients or families to take the opportunity to ‘say words that need to be said’—for example forgiveness, thankfulness and appreciation. I have witnessed a grandfather waiting for his grandson to arrive for a final conversation. Daughters, telling their father how much they loved him despite former family hurts when they were small children. During communion, reconciliation happening between family members where at that moment the needs and wishes of the patient are put first and family stressors put aside.
Other words can include letting go of regrets, guilt, unfulfilled dreams and hopes, along with unfinished business. Rod McLeod—a Hospice New Zealand Palliative Care specialist—describes the role of the Chaplain as “companioning a patient to the gate of death and exploring with the patient on that journey if there is anything that they may be carrying in a back pack that weighs heavily that needs to be let go of in order to die freely.”
As a chaplain my role is to also to explore what strengths can be added to this journey to bring comfort and hope. Currently I am journeying alongside a patient who at her request I meet with regularly for prayer and Scripture reading. Faith is her strength for the journey ahead and she is actively involved in her growth.
Heavenly Father, help us to be intentional with our words in our work with others to guide, explore, and to deeply listen to their stories to be able to offer hope, reconciliation and peace.
Contributor: Karen Schilperoort, Chaplain