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The Gift of Presence

Bob Hill, a friend and former colleague of mine at the clinic for many years wrote about his experience on one of our Support Teams for The Balm of Gilead Center at Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham. I wanted to share it with you.
Our Support Team had a “ministry of presence” where we joined a “community of caring at the end of life,” in a palliative care unit.
Our “Room” had become Mrs. G’s home for her final few days. After church, another Support Team member and I took flowers from our altar and stopped in to see her. She was not able to speak, so we visited with her husband and daughter. Upon leaving, I asked if we could have a prayer. I laid my hand on her small, frail body and we all stood around her.
My prayer was that God would open his loving arms and receive Mrs. G. into the Kingdom of Heaven and give her peace. I felt movement in her leg as I prayed. It was powerful for me.
The next day after work, as I drove from the parking deck, an overpowering feeling came over me, which I had never experienced before. I felt drawn to drive to the hospital, but I had errands to run.
I did, however, turn left and 2 minutes later appeared at the nurses station of the Balm, which means “place of no pain.”  I asked, “How are things with Mrs. G?” “She just passed,” I heard the nurse say.
I then knew why I had been called to go. I walked into the room, pulled up a chair beside her. I felt a presence of her spirit still in the room, and peace. I prayed and I wept, as I kept vigil for 40 minutes until her family arrived. I felt the Holy Spirit come down and embrace us.
What a gift I had received through “presence.” Mrs. G and I never spoke one word directly to each other, but my life has been changed by her “ending” and her new “beginning.”
Thank you Bob Hill for who you are and for teaching me about the gift of presence.

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