Friday, June 27, 2008

Filling a Need

roses in my garden; Jack and Pauline's house in the background

I could hear a sob in the voice of my neighbor, Pauline, when she called me yesterday evening. Her husband Jack has been suffering for several years with severe emphysema, and most recently colon cancer. The doctors said that his lungs would take him before the cancer did.

I hung up the phone and dashed through the backyard to enter the house. Jack's breathing had slowed, and a rattle could be heard when he did take a breath. His skin had grown cold. Pauline stood beside his chair, wringing her hands. I held Jack's hand, and asked Pauline to get a blanket as I could visibly see the goosebumps on Jack's chest and arms. As she left the room, I knelt beside him, and whispered, "It's okay, Jack. You can go and be with the Lord." He took one more shallow breath, and immediately exhaled.

As Pauline reentered the room, she looked at him, and then to me and said, "He's gone, isn't he?" And he was. We searched for a pulse, and listened for a heartbeat with a stethoscope. There were none. I hugged Pauline, and we covered him with the quilt she had retrieved, tucking it carefully under his chin as if to put him to bed. And then we waited. For the family that she had called before calling me. For the hospice nurse.

It was a bit surreal as the family trickled in, and the nurse arrived. I informed the nurse of how Jack had passed since Pauline was understandably shaken. I stayed long enough to make sure that Pauline was taken care of, and then headed back home. As I walked back through the yard, Verne emerged from the house. I told him that Jack had passed. As only the girls were home, we gathered them up, and went back to Jack and Pauline's. Pauline was glad to see Verne and the girls. She hugged them each tight.

I walked through the yard again this afternoon to check on Pauline. She showed me the clothes that she had picked out for Jack's burial. She shared pictures with me of their early marriage. She was happy to have someone to talk to. I was happy to be that someone.

Last night I had the privilege of holding the hand of a dear elderly man while he passed from this world into the next. It's something I'll never forget.

17 comments:

Sharon said...

*Tears streaming*
I'm glad you were available to help Pauline in her time of need. Praying for God's comfort to her and family.

Momala said...

We will be praying for Pauline and her family as they are grieving.

Karen said...

praying here, too....

Tracy said...

How precious for Pauline, to have someone so close to be with her during those very first difficult moments. I'm so glad you were there for her.

Karen said...

What a blessing you are to your neighbors, Tracy. And what a privilege for you to be there. I'm praying with you, too.

Momma Roar said...

How blessed you each are as neighbors!

Jodi said...

Oh ((Tracy)) - This made me cry. Bittersweet is the death of those that belong to God. I'm glad you were there for both the dear man and his wife. Praying for her and the family.

His Girl said...

so so so beautiful... what a wonderful thing to be there to see that awesome departure, and then comfort your friend. sad, yes, but beautiful nonetheless.

Shawnee said...

bless you, darling Tracy ... what a wonderful gift you gave your neighbors. **tears streaming, too**

Cherish the Home said...

Oh Tracy...this was so touching. What a blessing you were to both of them in their time of need.

Lisa said...

I am so glad your kind heart was there for Pauline. My smpathy to his family.

Rachel said...

Wow!

Abounding Treasures said...

How wonderful that you were able to be there for Pauline in her time of need and what an experience to be holding the hand of a dear elderly saint who passed from time into eternity ....

Blessings,
Dallas

lady jane said...

So faithful and sweet is our Lord in preparing a place for Jack. How precious it is that he passed on to gloriously relish eternity with the King. Such a treasure that you were there to comfort and tend, Tracy. I'm blessed reading this.

Prayer heavenward for Jack's loved ones <><

Daughter of the King said...

Tracy ,
What a honor the Lord bestowed on you to *be there*....I am so glad the Lord has used you and your family. I am sure you will be such a help and encouragement in the future days ahead with Pauline....you are a Godly neighbor and a treasure to her and being used of the Lord, what could be better?
Deby

50s Housewife said...

Oh Tracy! Bless you dear for being such a precious friend in a time of need.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Oh, how special that you got to be there to comfort Pauline and reassure Jack in this time...God puts us where He can use us. I am sure you were a real blessing.

I am enjoying your blog! Thanks again for sharing your idea today,

Melissa