I was sent to Hospice to visit a new resident who I was told was
in need of help get her settled into her new home.
When I arrived two of her daughters were trying to console a
distraught mother, she was very unhappy in her strange
surroundings. I asked if she would like to hear a little scripture
and some old familiar songs. One of her daughters had left
and the other said she thought that was just what her mom
needed. I sang Psalm 23, Jesus Loves Me, In The Garden and
Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven and read a few related Scripture
verses. She couldn’t remember who I was, and although the songs
and reading were helpful for her daughter, Mother could not be
consoled. Her daughter thanked me and apologized for her mother’s
lack of interest. We prayed The Lord’s Prayer and I tried to comfort
her daughter, telling her that perhaps mom received more
comfort than it seemed.
AS I left the room a gal whose Mom was on her death bed in
the next room said she heard me singing and asked if I would
mind helping her family sing In The Garden, their mom’s very
favorite song. Mom appeared comatose, but as we started
singing she turned and looked at us and her lips moved as she
seemed to try to join us for a few short moments and laid
back in her former position. The family asked me to continue
singing and reading. When I was ready to leave one of her daughters
asked if I could sing another of their favorites, “On Eagle’s Wings”.
I told her I’d be happy to, but I may not remember all the words.
She handed me a sheet with the words and I sang it.
I’m certain that Mom’s death was very near. We prayed together
And I left a very appreciative family.
The next week I was asked to visit an old retired pastor at the
Hospice. I read Psalml 23 and sang it along with others. He was very
hard pressed to communicate, but as I sang he sat back, eyes closed
with a big smile on his face. After prayer he spoke clearly and said
“I want you to know that you made my day”. What a privilege it is
To share the last part of another person’s life. Praise The Lord!
THE MEANING OF LIFE
What is the meaning of this life that we live
and try to comprehend?
To understand what we need to give
before this journey’s end.
My old friend lay dying on his bed.
Is there any comfort to give?
As my songs and verses fill his head
does he think of the new life he will live?
As I witness him take his very last breath
I wonder about my own.
I hope that someone will share my death,
And bid me ado, as I head home
What a privilege it is to share God’s Word
With folks near the end of their life.
To share with them what I’ve read and heard;
And ease their discomfort and strife.
In memory of Bill Grainger
Remember your creator In the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come…..
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”-before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain:
when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop, and the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the window grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades;
when men rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint;
when men are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags himself along
and desire is no longer stirred.
Then man goes to his eternal home and mourners go about the streets.
Remember him-before the silver chord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken;
Before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,
…And the dust returns to the ground it came from,
And the spirit returns to the God who gave it.
I was preparing for my January Praise and Worship service at the Fond du Lac Lutheran Home. Most of the folks were already lined up in their wheel chairs waiting to participate in songs, scripture and prayer. I heard an old familiar voice coming from the hallway leading to the sunroom where we meet each month. I hope this guy is the Don Cooper I know” a faint voice exclaimed. She was wheeled into the room by the nurse’s aid, and placed in the front row right in front of my table where I was preparing to start our service. “It is you” Lucy exclaimed when she saw who I was. “If I could get out of this wheel chair, I would give you a great big hug!
“You don’t have to get up Lucy” I said as I walked over to her wheelchair and bent over to give her the hug she wanted to give me. “You don’t know how happy I am to see you” she said. “I’m sorry that I can’t walk and talk like I could before I had this darned stroke, but I can’t wait until we can start singing together as we once did.” Lucy and I had met back in the 1980s, when we were members of the Fond du Lac Community Theater and participated in many musical performances, and sang and danced and even had a glass of beer together after the many rehearsals and performances we attended.
“Jesus Loves Me”, “In the Garden”, “Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven” and many other old favorites about Jesus and Heaven, and many familiar scripture verses later, after enjoying her smiling face during the whole service, it was time to say goodbye. I always finish my service with a prayer, a benediction and a verse of “May The Good Lord bless and Keep You” and after telling them that I hope to see them again next month, but in case I don’t see them here again on earth, I look forward to meeting them in Heaven. If you get there before me, watch for me. If I get there first I will watch for you and we’ll be singing together at Jesus’ feet with all our loved ones who are waiting for us there.
Lucy died Feb 7, 2010. At her wake I discovered that the nurse’s aid who brought her to the service was Lucy’s own grand daughter. Lucy had been a resident of the home for several months but didn’t know about my vesper type services until that day when she was asked if she wanted to sing with Don Cooper today. She was anxious to know if I was someone from her past. I wish that I would have known that she was at the home so I could have at least visited with her before that day, but I really was looking forward to seeing her at the February service. I didn’t know that my parting words would be so prophetic.
I am thankful that we had that last meeting together and that it was such a joy for both of us. This was another of the precious days which the Lord has granted me, to be with the friends He has given me the privilege of sharing our faith together. It is a humbling experience.
Lucy LeMieux will be missed by her relatives and the many friends she volunteered with while working with most of the Fond du Lac area service organizations.
Bound For Heaven
We live in the land of the dying; bound for the land of the living.
Dying can cause much sighing; in Heaven is eternal thanksgiving.
On earth we strive to do our best, to live, to love and leave our mark;
We work and play to pass the test in daylight hours and when it’s dark.
Our future is in Heaven above, that beautiful place beyond compare.
Angels, disciples, folks we’ve loved, prophets and teachers are living there
The streets are paved with purest gold, the entrance graced with pearly gates
We only know what the Bible told; we trust what it tells us about our fate.
There’s no need to ponder the things that will be.
God knows; that’s all that matters; for you and for me!
Nov 1 2009
Excerpts from Revelation:
REV 4:1 KJV I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven:
12:10 KJV And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; KJV
(The Bible shows God’s pathway He’ll lead us to our home
Jesus tells us plainly that He’s the only way
He wants to be our council our mentor our Savior and our guide)