Saturday, February 9, 2008


It's four below zero here, and I'll bet the windchill is somewhat lower. We spent about 30 seconds outside just now, and I'll bet there is a significant windchill.

I realize that it's much colder in Canada. So I should stop my whining and complaining. Everybody I know says that the cold weather makes them feel tired, and gray days make them feel -- well, gray.

Today I spent part of a day getting ready for a meeting at the church tomorrow. It's something I care a lot about; it's something I believe is really important for the future of our congregation and the development of our mission and vision. We know what we have been in the past. Who are we going to be in the future? What does God want from us? What are we passionate about as a congregation, and what are we gifted in? These are questions we want to answer. But, it will be so cold tomorrow, and I pray that just a few passionate people will warm up the meeting.

In the meantime, I also went to the hospital today. It's one of my regular visitation days. I went to visit three people at the Nearest Hospital To The Church. One of our members was released back to his nursing home. Another woman had a major stroke. The third was a woman I have been visiting ever since her husband died, in 1999.

I remember because it was also the year I got married. M was the second wife, just like I am. She was younger and married a man with teenaged children, just like me. We had wonderful conversations over coffee; she asked me questions about life, and death, and forgiveness. I asked her about her life with H, and what she did at stressful times. Then we had communion.

Often in the wintertime, she would tell me not to come, because she had a steep driveway, and she was worried about people slipping in the cold and snowy weather. Sometimes I would park on the street and walk up the hill.

She was a great lady, really down to earth, with a good sense of humor. She wasn't really "shut in" technically, but she didn't drive, which limited her ability to get out.

When I went to her room, I found out that she had been moved to another room on another floor. The nurse asked me if I was family. "No," I said. "I'm one of her pastors." "oh," the nurse said quietly. "She'll need you."

When I got up to her room and walked in the door, I discovered that she had just died.

Did I mention that it is 4 below zero? And the wind is howling, too.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Diane, I am so sorry about your parishioner. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. May God give you comfort, consolation, and peace.

I often wonder who pastors the pastors? I know that you pastors meet together to pray and give help and support to each other. Is that enough?

I'm sorry about the cold, too. Your temperatures would be hard for me to take.

Ruby said...

Diane, I am sorry about your loss.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

oh Diane, so sorry. it's so tough when one of our beloved folks passes. yeah i know we've been trained in this stuff blah blah... but it's hard when there's a soul-full connection like in your story. be good to yourself and remember if it's gray... that means there's white light in there somewhere too... be as warm as you can.

Diane said...

pastors out there, have you ever walked into a room to visit someone in the hospital, and they just died, and the sheet is pulled over their head? Just wondering. Once I walked in and the family was still there and he had just died, but this was different.

LawAndGospel said...

Diane, I am really sorry you experienced both the physical and the emotional chill of winter. No matter how hard I hope we are never so trained that our hearts do not melt. But I pray that there are those who minister to you too. Prayers for comfort and peace.

Jiff said...

Oh, Diane. I am so sorry!
To answer your question: yes.
I've walked in when the sheet has been pulled.
Once I walked in and the doctor had told me that the patient had died & the family had been notified and was on their way...and he hadn't died---yet.
It was a strange, hard thing, but allowed the wife to get there and stay until he really and truly breathed his last.
What a hard, cold day for you.

RevDrKate said...

Oh Diane, yes, sorry for *your* loss of this great lady. Thoughts and prayers to you on this night. May it be warmer soon.

Chorus said...

Oh Diane, I am sorry. That is so sad.

Hope that things warm up soon.

mompriest said...

Oh diane...just died is the saddest...about to die means we can still be there with the one's we care for, offer a prayer (which is usually more for us than the dying one, but even still)...

I'm sorry she had just died...but I'm grateful you were there nonetheless....

gartenfische said...

Wow. I am so sorry about your friend, Diane.

I tagged you for a couple of silly memes before I read this. You don't have to do them, of course. . . .

Rowan The Dog said...

I am sorry your friend died. It's good that you could be there at that tender time. She may well have experienced the comfort of your presence, even though it seemed like she wasn't there. We can never know about those things but I do believe that your timing was on target. Peace, peace... and try to let your heart be comforted.

Rev SS said...

so sorry ... I'm going thru similar experience here. (((o))) and prayers coming your way.