I walked into the Intensive Care Unit and the unmistakable smell of blood slapped me in the face. The Social Worker tearfully said, “Mark, I just can’t go in there.”
As the on-call hospital chaplain, I had to go in. First, the Social Worker told me that the young (about 35 years of age) patient had an argument with his wife. During the argument his wife stabbed him in the stomach with a knife. The knife had cut an artery and, despite multiple attempts to give the patient blood and plasma, he was going to die in a couple of hours.
Years latter, the heart-wrenching part of this drama was knowing only one person was at the patient’s bedside during the final hours of his life. The patient’s mentally ill sister held her brother’s hand till the end.
The most sure thing I know is that some day you will die. When you do, who will be holding your hand?
When prioritizing relationships, choose the people you want to hold your hand at the end.
“Keep a clear eye toward life’s end.” – St. Francis of Assisi