Verbatim: Family and Time
Care of the Dying and Bereaved Verbatim Report of a Pastoral Visit Chaplain Your Initials: GAR Location of Visit: At It’s home Time of Visit: 1430 Date of Visit: May 29, 2013 Date written: June 8, 2013 Preliminary Data Age: 88 Gender: Female Religious Preference: Seventh-day Adventist Referral: Y/N? N Initial Observations/Facts # of Prior Visits: 3 My initial visit with UT was a couple of months ago when my husband and I were approached to help with the relocation of a bed to make room for a hospice bed.
During the first visit as we were introduced to the couple, I became aware that the tenant sent home to die with hospice is a retired pastor with the Seventh-day Adventist church. He spent all his life as a missionary and pioneer for our church. Within a week he died and I bumped into the wife (UT) outside of church a few weeks after his death and she asked if I could come by to visit with her.
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This is my third visit with her. As I enter It’s home I notice the blinds down and curtains drawn. There is a lamp turned on dimly and in the recliner sits UT.
Next to the recliner is a table with her cup of tea, her bible and a Journal. The walls are covered with pictures of the couple ND their children from all over the world where they ministered. I can see the kitchen from where I stand and there are boxes stacked up on the counter and stove which lets me know that she is not cooking for herself. She invites me to sit down. Goals I chose this visit to do a write up as a verbatim because this is my third time with Mrs. UT. My visits with her are grief related as she is mourning the loss of her husband. They had been married for seventy years.
I would like to focus on how I helped her begin the grieving process. Pastoral Visit P = Patient H Husband D Daughter CLC: Hello, UT, It’s Gilda Rowdy; I thought I’d stop by to see how you are doing since our last visit? (The phone rang and when UT answered it she spoke in a low voice. I was aware I felt anxious and wondered if I should excuse myself. ) Pl: The pastor is here D and I have been waiting for her visit, can I call you later? Bye darling. (She hung up the phone). It’s my daughter; I’ll call her later. CO: The last time I was here we talked about your support system.
How is that going? PA: As you know, I had a lot of family and friends visit after H died, now I am definitely feeling the emptiness and loneliness. I sometimes hear H calling my name like he used to and I respond like I used to and then realize that he is dead and it is lust wishful thinking. (She pauses) CO: (After some silence), it is quite normal that you would hear your husband after all the two of you have been together for over seventy years. Tell me, how are you coping? PA: Gilda, It’s hard. I can’t remember life without him (she starts sobbing). We got married on my eighteenth birthday.
I was young but back then, its what you did. I was the oldest of thirteen kids. When I met H he promised me the world and I remember laughing at him. He kept his promise. I have visited and lived in some of the most untouched parts of the world. CO: How was it for you to leave your family? (l was aware of my own pain of leaving my family, as I left home at eighteen leaving the southern hemisphere heading to the northern hemisphere to study) PA: To tell you the truth, I missed my family a lot, but there was something about marrying a pastor and traveling the world.
I was excited and looked forward to an adventure, something I had never experienced before. There were times when life was no so easy but for the most part H and I lived a life of adventure. CO: Tell me a little about when life was not easy? AS: One of trying times was when we spent seven months in the Solomon Island. (She pointed too picture of her and her husband with a local tribe). We were told by the General Conference to be extra careful and not to go out at night. Most of them were cannibals you see. I was terrified, but H said we should trust in God, so we went safety during our time there.
When we found out I was 4 months pregnant H said it was time for us to go home. I was relieved. CO: I can only imagine what that must have been like for you? It sounds though that you lived a very exciting life, the life your husband promised. PA: Exactly, it was so exciting . God truly blessed us. He blessed us with safety and health most importantly. When it was time for us to retire, we both knew we had accomplished all we set out to do. God would be pleased I thought. We decided to retire in Loam Linda since we had two children here and our grand children.
CO: Tell me about your relationship with your children and grand children? PA: We were quite blessed even up to the time when H was dying the kids would come by every Friday night to start the Sabbath with us, the grand kids would sing to him and bring their instruments and play for him. You should have seen the last time we worshiped together. I know Jesus and His angels were watching down on us. CO: How has it been since He’s death? PA: Oh, the kids and grand kids still come by and we still have worship, it’s Just that…. (Then she paused) CGI: What it, UT?
PA: Well after the kids and grand used to leave we would always talk about each one and reminisce on stories and then pray for each one of them. Now that H is gone I feel angry that he is not here for me to do that. CIO: I can see how that would make you feel angry. Is there a way that you can still reminisce and pray for your family? POI: It Just hurts so much, and once everyone leaves its Just me and all these memories. It’s silly; I have been blessed with so many wonderful years with H, but feel robbed of my time with him. Call: I don’t think it silly at all.
I think it’s beautiful that you would want to spend more time with your husband. I see you as a role model for all couples, especially ones married to pastors. I know that it can be tough at times but the two of you by God’s grace made it through. Pl 1: Enjoy your husband and don’t take time for granted. Loneliness is very dark. CO: Tell me about your loneliness? What does it look like for you? Alone. After you have spent every waking moment with your soul mate living without IM is dark. CO: I am so sorry. What do you think you can do to move out of this darkness?
PAP: I live in this wonderful community where there are always activities going on. I guess I could be sociable and Join some fun activities. They have invited me; I Just haven’t had the courage to go alone. CO: That’s understandable, from what you are telling me you are showing appropriate emotions for one who’s loved one has died. PAP: It really helps talking about this with you. I appreciate you stopping by. CO: I am happy to check in with you every couple of weeks if you like. PAP: I would like that very much, feel free to bring you kids too they are so sweet and polite, you hardly see that nowadays. The first time we met the couple to help them relocate the bed the kids came along and while Jordan and I took the bed apart the kids sang for the couple). CO: I noticed the boxes in the kitchen, how are you managing for food. PAP: You are very observant. I asked my grand kids to box up He’s books and someone from “relive” will be picking it up. We always wanted to make sure someone would get good use out of them, although these days with the internet…. But to answer your question, my children are bringing my meals every day. I am blessed I tell you. CO: I am glad to hear that.
Well it was nice visiting with you. May I pray for you before I leave? PAP: You wouldn’t be a pastor is you didn’t (she chuckled). CO: I took her hand and prayed. Dear Heavenly father, I thank you for UT. It is evident after our time together that she has a strong faith and relationship with you. You alone know her pain as she grieves the death of H. You alone can feel her loneliness in this house. I pray for your comfort and care as she mourns the loss of H. Please help her with her loneliness, UT most important of all help her with the relationship she will make within this community.
Bless her children and grand children as UT finds a way to continue praying for them. Thank you Father for coordinating our paths. In Jesus’ name we pray amen. CO: I’ll check back with you in a couple of weeks. See you later. Evaluation I have grown to really appreciate UT, I am aware of my own sense of loss as my grandmother passed away some years ago and I watched my grandfather grapple with learning how to live without his soul mate. I feel I listened to It’s concern regarding her loneliness as I guided her in finding ways to be around people.
I did not want to become a crutch for her or providing her with solutions therefore being an enabler. I realize her pain of losing her loved one after seventy years of marriage. She expressed a healthy way of grieving, and I am happy to Journey that with her as I encourage her to lean on children and grandkids who are clearly attached to their mother. Theological/Spiritual Reflection As I reflect on my visit with UT, I see it as a theologically sound visit due to our same faith background. In our previous visit she mentioned that she would no doubt be reunited with H again at Jesus’ second coming.
We rejoiced in the fact that we have such hope and at the same time were very aware of this world marred with sin. Mourning is a healthy way to deal with the loss of a loved one as Jesus himself wept for His friend Lazarus. I was encouraged to see a couple sustain the trials of life and remain together for so many years. As a minister I know the struggles that accompanies a couple who choose to follow God’s calling. It is not always the easiest road to Journey on. Couples who sustain the test of time through prayer and perseverance are few and far between. This is not the norm in our society.