Monday, June 13, 2011

Deja Vu

At the hospital today, I saw a patient who looked so much like my father -- same bushy eyebrows, same eyes, same hair -- that I almost started crying in the room (and did cry after I left: I hid in a back storeroom for a few minutes and sniffled). These days, I'm pretty good at comforting myself by remembering that I carry my parents inside me, but the shock of seeing those familiar features made me realize, quite painfully for a few minutes, how much I miss having them walking around in the world.

The department was exceptionally busy today. In two hours, I offered chaplaincy services to seventy-four people, and that was just patients, friends and relatives within the ED proper (lots of large family groups today, which always drives up the census). I visited the internal waiting room, but never even got out to the main waiting room. This meant that I didn't have much time to be sad, which was probably good.

A later visit, though, pushed the same buttons: a young woman sitting at her elderly father's bedside, weeping in worry and exhaustion. I gave her a hug and told her that I know how hard it is to be in that position. She seemed to appreciate the empathy.

Do I really want to be sitting next to my father's hospital bed again? Well, no. But I miss walking into any old room and finding him there, eyes twinkling.

Another volunteer chaplain's working from five to nine tonight. If his evening's anything like my afternoon, he'll have a very busy shift!


  1. That must have been quite a shock to you. I remember when my daughters first child was born. My husband and I were down in the lobby waiting for her and my husband just went rigid. Look,look he whispered to me. And right there in the hospital my late father walked right across the lobby, turned and looked at us and walked out. My throat shut up tight and I was ice cold. I swear, that man, every inch of him looked like my dad. He even walked like my dad. It took a while to get over it and even now I get goosebumps thinking of it. Sometimes I wonder Susan, sometimes I wonder.

  2. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Sounds like some tough stints for both of you - I hope the chaplains have a chaplain!

    Take care,



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