"One favourite patient I got to know had been in and out of hospital several times, and all staff on the Medical / Surgical ward had grown quite attached to her and her husband.
This lady came to mind as it is the anniversary of her departing for ‘home’. In spite of terminal cancer and the resulting pain, this lady never once failed to give us a smile or a hug. Mindful that all cancer patients have to be carefully touched and handled, some receiving even a slight hug could be extremely painful for them. Whenever her husband came to visit, she truly did perk up and glow. He was a nice man, very polite and as friendly as his wife.
It is quite natural for us to get quite attached to such lovely people and it was always a pleasure to care for her. I and others admired their expressions of love to one another.
Daily he brought her fresh flowers and a smile, then sat by her bed as they held hands and talked quietly. When the pain was too much and she cried or became confused, he gently hugged her in his arms and whispered until she rested. God Bless him he spent every available moment at her bedside, giving her small sips of water and stroking her brow. Every night, before he left for home, he closed the door so they could spend time alone together.
When he was gone, we’d find her sleeping peacefully with a smile on her lips. On this night however, things were different. As soon as I entered, the day nurses advised she had steadily taken a turn for the worse and wouldn’t make it through the night. Although all present and on duty in charge of this ladies immediate care were sad, I knew that this was for the best. At least this lady who became a special friend wouldn’t be in pain any longer. I checked on her first. When entering the room, she aroused and smiled weakly, but it was her breathing which was noticeably laboured and I could tell it wouldn’t be long.
Her husband sat beside her, smiling too, and said, “My love is finally going to get her reward.” I cannot deny that a lump came in my throat and tears came to my eyes, no matter how hard I tried to stop them, after all we have emotions and are not exempt from them, so I asked if they needed anything and departed quickly.
I offered care and comfort throughout the evening, and about midnight this lovely warm lady passed away with her husband still holding her hand. I consoled him and with tears running down his cheeks he said, “May I please be alone with her for a while?”
I placed my hand gently on his shoulder, I had no reason to speak and closed the door behind me. I stood outside that room, discreetly blotting my own eyes and missing a lady who had become my friend too, knowing I would also miss her welcoming smile. I could feel the pain of her husband in my own heart.
Suddenly from this room came the most beautiful male voice I have ever heard singing. It was almost haunting the way it floated through the corridor.
I witnessed other nurses had stepped out into the long corridor to listen as he sang “Beautiful Brown Eyes” at the top of his lungs. When the tune faded, the door opened and he called to me. He looked me in the eyes then hugged me close saying, “I sang that song to her every night from the first day we met. Normally I close the door and keep my voice down so as not to disturb the other patients. But I had to make sure she heard me tonight as she was on her way to heaven, she had to know that she will always be my love forever. Please will you apologise to anyone I have bothered. I just don’t know how I will make it without her, but I will continue to sing to her every night.
Do you think she will hear me ?” I nodded my head “yes”, still unable to speak. He then hugged me again, patted me on the back thanking me for being their friend. He turned to the nurses present offering his appreciation to them, then slowly turned and walked down the corridor, his back hunched, whistling the song softly as he went. May both now be in tune with each other.
God Bless them both for the wonderful times they shared a part of their life with me, which has enriched my people skills, and my empathy in Ministry life too."
SONG OF SOLOMON 8:7
Many waters cannot quench love. Rivers cannot wash it away. If a man tried to buy it with everything he owned, he couldn’t do it.
Oratory of St Luke the Physician