On another visit, I went along as James*, a Hospice chaplain, met with Elizabeth*, a cheerful patient living in a nursing home. I followed James as he navigates the maze of hallways in the nursing home with remarkable proficiency, stopping to greet each of the patients that he recognizes along the way. When we came to Elizabeth’s room, her door was wide open and she rested comfortably in her chair.
“Hi, Elizabeth, it’s James from Hospice of the Red River Valley,” he said. “Would it be okay if we visited with you for a little bit?”
Elizabeth’s crystal blue eyes sparkled and she replied back “Oh, that would be lovely.” Then with a mischievous grin she says, “Aren’t you handsome?”
James blushes and he quickly turns the conversation back to her.
“How have you been doing?”
She tells him she has been doing fine, and that she is working on moving around with her walker. She makes us laugh with her tales of the nursing home, her family and the very direct and honest answers she gives us to our questions.
After visiting for awhile, Elizabeth becomes thoughtful and tells James she has always wondered something about God. James gently urges her to continue. “I want to know why a loving God would sacrifice his own son. I just don’t understand it.”
James remains quiet for a moment and asks her, “Can I share with you what I believe?”
“Yes,” she says, “please do.”
James explains it this way, “I imagine that sacrificing my child, would be far harder than sacrificing my own life. Would you agree with that?”
Elizabeth nods her head in agreement so James continues, “His sacrifice goes to show us just how deep his love is for us.”
Elizabeth pauses and then looks James directly in the eye, “Thank you; that helps me understand it.”
As James prepares to leave he asks if he can come back and visit with her again sometime.
She responds, “Oh, I would like that,” and I can see that she means it. James has been a bright spot in her day and Elizabeth has been a bright spot in ours.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy
About Hospice of the Red River Valley
In 1981, Hospice of the Red River Valley was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to high-quality end-of-life care. We fulfill our nonprofit mission by providing medical, emotional, personal and spiritual care, as well as grief support to our patients, their families and caregivers during a tender time in life. Our staff helps those we serve experience more meaningful moments through exceptional hospice care, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wherever a patient calls home. The organization serves more than 40,000 square miles in North Dakota and Minnesota, including in and around Bismarck, Detroit Lakes, Devils Lake, Fargo, Fergus Falls, Grand Forks, Lisbon, Thief River Falls, Valley City and many more communities. Hospice of the Red River Valley offers round-the-clock availability via phone, prompt response times and same-day admissions, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Contact us anytime at 800-237-4629 or hrrv.org.