Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18

Greetings to all that read! As usual, it has been awhile but glad to meet you here today.

I have wanted to share a story with you of a special person named Rickie. I met her at the hospital many times where she would share her own story with me. She had been raised in the Methodist church and as many people do, left the church as a young adult. She was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and Cancer a couple of years ago and needed emotional and spiritual support and went searching. She found a group of pagans that supported her in her journey of illness. She kept sharing her story with me - and I did not know much about paganism, but I was able to listen. She had a friend who she called her soul mate and best friend. Rickie and Tom moved to Florida from Ohio just a couple of years ago to be near the beach! Almost immediately, Rickie was diagnosed and began a slow decline.

Two weeks ago, I was told that Rickie was at the hospital so I was going to go see her. I found out that she had been released so I called Tom to see if I could visit at their home. I don't usually follow-up like that, but I had a whisper in my ear that said, go. So I went. Rickie was terminally restless - first up, then down, then hallucinating. Tom was scared and frustrated and exhausted and when I got there, he began sobbing. It was too much for him but he had told Rickie that she could die at home. Tom had made a promise but did not know how difficult it would be. I immediately called a nurse as help was needed! Tom needed a break and asked if he could take a short walk to a store for cigarettes. Of course I said yes - although I was frightened to be there alone. Rickie had a large body and was very restless so I was afraid that she would fall. Together, Tom and I got her in bed so Tom left for his walk. I tried to not engage Rickie so she might rest until the nurse got there. 5 minutes earlier, Rickie was walking, talking, and drinking water and hallucinating. Tom left...and Rickie dropped the water and died.

I am convinced that Rickie knew that this was her chance to die without Tom there. Experience tells me that some people wait until everyone is there, some people wait until all are gone. Rickie did not want Tom there so physically, Rickie was not ready to die - but it was the only chance.

On January 28, we will be having a pagan service for Rickie at the beach - the place she loved. I have never experienced a pagan service - but for Rickie, I will do just that.

As I write here often, the blessing that I get at working at hospice is the reminder that every day is a gift. It is our tagline, but it is so true. So live life fully, work out your conflicts, say what is important, love big, and find what gives your life meaning - and then love that.

Blessings for your own journey through life.