When there’s no hope of recovery, how do you recover hope? You and I both know that question, I'm guessing. I wrestle with it regularly as a hospital chaplain. When I’m called to a room after Eddie hears his diagnosis. When the ambulance brings in 5-year-old Bree. When you hear that the treatment isn't working … Continue reading When there’s no hope of recovery, how do you recover hope?
I've done words for a long time. I've been around funerals and memorial services for a long time, too. I want to give you a lesson that I am constantly telling myself because I keep forgetting it. Here's the lesson: people forget what you say. You can offer the best words, the clearest outline, the … Continue reading The most important lesson for a funeral service.
What if you and four friends said, “No one is eating alone after a funeral. Churches have meals for members. We’re going to offer meals to families who don’t have churches.” And you became known as the people who were there in the hardest moments of life, not with answers but with presence. What if you provided potluck and pie?
If you've sat with a family in an emergency room, you've faced hard questions. And you've struggled to figure out the way to navigate hope and despair. It doesn't matter if you are a chaplain or a pastor or a friend that showed up in a hard time. You get questions and you have to answer. Sometimes, it sounds like this.
I think they were nine and twelve. But I’m terrible with figuring out the ages of kids, and I’ve decided that asking isn’t helpful. Instead, I start listening and start talking and calibrate my vocabulary and concepts to the responses I’m getting. Thirty feet away, through an open door, a public hallway, and a closed … Continue reading A conversation with kids about death.
Adriel Booker wrote this for pastors who want to care for parents after miscarriage. What parents need from pastors after a miscarriage 1. Make time for grieving parents as early as possible. 2. Acknowledge the significance of their baby’s life. 3. Attend to both the mother and the father. 4. Encourage them to be honest … Continue reading How spiritual leaders can help in time of miscarriage (link)
Before considering what to do to be helpful, Gavin Ortland suggests four things NOT to do. (Read the full article at "How not to help a sufferer.") In summary, his four things are don't be too quick to talk about what God means by this. don't be too quick to tell how your story turned … Continue reading How not to help a sufferer.
I’m sorry. Nothing: (Sixty seconds of silence) May I take care of that? (and take the tissue out of their hands and give them a fresh one and throw it away and wash your hands) This is hard. Yes, I remember that time. I don’t know. . whether pets are in heaven . . . … Continue reading 10 simple phrases when visiting in the first hours after a death.
In the last hours and minutes of people's lives, laying in hospital and hospice beds, we often hear the question, "Can they hear us?" Chaplains and nurses often say, "Yes. Of course. The hearing is the last thing to go." But I think there may be a more important question to ask. And that is, … Continue reading Can my loved one hear me?