T WAS EARLY ONE morning at CHRISTUS St. Patrick
Hospital. It was dark outside, but busy and bright inside the hospital.
I was dutifully making initial visits on patients who had been admitted
since the previous afternoon. This was like so many other mornings
so I thought.
of the patients I visited was 89 years of age and “no bigger
than a minute” her tiny frame was practically lost in
her big hospital bed. I introduced myself and asked how she had
rested during the night. She answered with a sleepy voice but also
with an emotional weariness that touched something in me. “I
dont know why the Lord still has me here,” she said.
“Ive lived a good life, but now I hurt most of the time.”
I said that I knew she had family who cared about
her and that they are glad she is still with them. “Oh, I
have a daughter but she is always saying I am going to be the death
of her,” she softly said. I could tell from the wisp of a
smile in the corner of her mouth that her daughter pampers her and
that everything she does for her mother is a labor of love.
Our conversation went from one simple topic to another.
She shared a little about her life and told me she had been living
in a nursing home. “Dont you come out there without
visiting me,” she gently urged. She talked of days gone by
and would often end a statement by saying, “but youre
too young to remember that.” Our time together was no more
than 10 minutes, but I had other patients to visit, so at an appropriate
point in our conversation, I started to leave.
She thanked me for coming, and as I reached for
the door, her words touched me, “You had time for me.”
Father Brian King
CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital
Lake Charles, Louisiana