A memorable sunrise—Michael VanOeveren
My most memorable sunrise was one I watched with the family of a patient as we gathered quietly in their driveway, watching the hearse take away the earthly remains of their loved one. I stood there in the midst of the crisp morning air with a family who—just hours before—had been perfect strangers. We stood together in the presence of death, and in the words of our faith tradition, "gave back to God the loved one who had passed from this life into the next."
When I left that warm and loving home in the brightness of the morning sun, I reflected upon how utterly dark it had been arriving hours earlier. I went as the chaplain-on-call, knowing nothing more than a name and address. However, when I left, I did so as a member of the extended family.
Each time I have had the privilege to enter into the home of a patient, I am humbled as we stand together, uncertain of what the end-of-life care may mean and bring. It is a sacred task to connect with the Almighty and travel with my patients and their families on their continued spiritual journey. One never knows what the next phone call might bring, and I am thankful for that.