couple sitting on park bench

The Ministry of Presence: 4 Tips to Practice Being Present in the Moment

by Vickie Haverkamp, Dr. Div., M.Div., RN When I think of presence, I think of my grandfather. He always made me feel like the most important person in the world because he gave me his undivided attention, genuinely engaging in our conversations and free time together. I knew he listened and was not concerned about …

5 Things Hospice Taught me about Living

5 Things Hospice Taught Me About Living

by David Montecuollo, chaplain C.S. Lewis once said, “Some of the best living can happen in the worst of health.” For many, the definition of “best living” takes shape through adventure, ability, accumulating things or the like. As a hospice chaplain, I have seen patients and family members who exemplify the words of C.S. Lewis by understanding living their best...

Loose Ends

By Karin  In the last year of Mom’s life she had become increasingly confined because of emphysema and COPD, until eventually she was living what we call in hospice, a “bed-to-chair” existence. Her oxygen tubing was long enough to stretch across her small one room apartment, while her nebulizer and inhalers sat on her end table within arm’s reach of...

How to Say Goodbye to a Loved One

By Rev. Lauryl Ivers I can just hear the child in me saying, “But I don’t want to say goodbye!” We simply just don’t want to say goodbye to the people we love, or the pets we love, or the things we love. So, what is best? Sneak out the back door, or face endings as best I can and...

Offering Spiritual Comfort to Non-Believers at the End of Life

By Janna Kontz, MDiv, chaplain Bringing people spiritual comfort is a challenge at any time. Every person is unique, and comes to the end of his or her life with individual experiences. Additionally, not everyone believes the same things I do. In my role as a chaplain, I am often asked to bring spiritual comfort to someone who does not connect...

Glimpses of Heaven: Providing Spiritual Care at the End of Life

By Karin George was Catholic. He was 90 years old. He received the sacraments regularly and attended Mass. He lived at a nursing home with a beautiful courtyard. Every year, a mother duck returns to this courtyard to hatch her eggs. She raises her ducklings in a couple of swimming pools, which the facility provides. They are fed and watered by...

The Importance of Storytelling for a Hospice Chaplain

By Pastor Tom Holtey “Humans are essentially storytellers.”- William Fischer Children love to tell as well as listen to stories. When people are at the end of their lives, they also need to tell and hear stories. Dr. Stanley Hauerwas wrote, “Our existence makes sense only insofar as we are able to place it in a narrative.” The search for discovering...

The Gracious Gift of Acceptance at the End of Life

By Karin   “To refrain from giving advice, to refrain from the affairs of others, to refrain, even though the motives be the highest, from tampering with another’s way of life – so simple, yet so difficult for an active spirit.”  - Henry Miller I consider myself an “active spirit.” As a hospice chaplain, I am trained to be involved in people’s...

Fulfilling Spiritual Wishes at the End of Life

By Karin  As a chaplain with Hospice of the Red River Valley, I have the privilege of providing spiritual support to many of our patients and their families. My passion and interest in the spiritual dimension of hospice care emerged from my own experience. When I was twenty-eight years old (thirty-two years ago), my dad died from lung cancer. He was able...

Experiencing a Hospice Chaplain Visit (Part Two)

By Amy  Elizabeth 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...