Yesterday I was called to the mysterious world known as the ICU. Being a hospice nurse this is the other end of the spectrum from my work. Here the courageous nurses of the ICU work miracles to keep their patients alive using a magical bag of tricks that I as a hospice nurse are wholly unfamiliar with.
I was called because there was no more to be done, all the magic had been used and still the patient was dying. I cannot provide care in the ICU; I can only give information and emotional support. The patient must be moved to a medical floor before the magic of hospice can be provided.
I met the son, daughter in law and the patient who was although dying wide awake! She looked at me with her deep brown eyes, “Is it okay?” she asked me. “Yes, everything is okay.” I assured her and I stood at the foot of her bed offering of myself what I could, positive energy, love, light and calm. She knew she was dying and knew I understood.
I asked her son if she had any spiritual needs. “Oh! We need a priest!” This truly was the eleventh hour and so I asked the unit secretary to call for a priest from the local parish. At one point the patient had declined to a point of deep sleep and barely audible breathing but the priest who was in mass had not come, and so the son took his finger and made a circle on her forehead and said a prayer. The patient relaxed and seemed to be letting go until she heard his voice and realized this had not been the priest. Her breathing resumed and she stayed. About a half hour later the priest arrived, her breathing had stopped but her heart remained beating! Quickly the priest did a beautiful service of the Sacrament of the Sick, anointing her with oil, offering prayers and absolving her of her sin and offering forgiveness. Finally she let go, her son spoke “She was waiting for forgiveness!” And indeed this would seem so.
Forgiveness is a powerful energy born of Love. It is a present we can give ourselves each day, with or without a priest. Remembering the Divine light within us and that we are all children of the Divine doing the best we can at this moment in time. The Divine asks nothing more of us.
We are loved beyond our human understanding, it is a gift to us in every moment of every day and it is ours if we just choose to embrace it.