Yesterday (as I write this), I visited Bob Wright. I had heard he was in hospice. So after the annual congregational meeting and a bite of lunch and quick rehearsal of Matthew’s Beatitudes, I drove to the Alverno.
I found Bob asleep and his daughter, Carolyn, at his side. We never met, so she and I introduced each other, and then she brought me up to speed. Bob couldn’t breath well. He was retaining fluid. His eyes were swollen shut. But the morphine and anti-anxiety medication from hospice had helped a lot. He was more at peace. He mostly slept.
I asked if Bob still had moments of clarity. Could he still have conversations? “Yeah,” she said. “Less so now, but he can hear everything we say, so I talk to him.”
And, as if on cue, Bob woke up. With groaning effort and with help from Carolyn, he sat up on the edge of his bed, eyes closed. Carolyn sat next to him on the bed and put her arm around him. I sat in the chair she had been sitting in.
Bob hardly looked like himself. But we talked. Bob said, “I’m ready. I just want to be with the Lord.” He was past ready; I could hear it in his voice. Carolyn and I comforted Bob with the best words we could find. She sat holding him and loving him. “Bob, I admire your faith,” I said, and I read and prayed. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Bob said.
From the parking lot, I called the St. Paul people I knew Bob knew best. They came and visited that same day.
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)