Words of Encouragement

grief fog

Any hobbit fans out there? Here is a deeply meaningful line from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, love grows perhaps the greater." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring)

Even in a work of fantasy, Tolkien highlighted an important truth of the human condition – love shines brightest amid the dark fog of grief. A person experiencing grief needs to receive love. A person observing grief in others feels energized to express love.

All hospice patients and families are experiencing grief – either anticipatory grief or grief after a death. What does that mean to hospice / healthcare workers? With grief being so present, expressions of love are more urgently needed.

I'll never forget the last days of one dear elderly man. He had been a tough business man throughout his life – fair, but tough. (If you ever drive to Colorado on I-70, you see many grain silos that he once owned.) He lied in a hospital bed, unable to care for himself in anyway. But he could speak. Every time he was repositioned, every time his brief was changed, every time his blood pressure was checked, every time I prayed with him, he simply whimpered, "thank you" to the facility, healthcare, and hospice workers. In the grief of feeling his life ebb out of him, he received love with extraordinary gratitude.

What you did this week, what you'll do again next week, you mingle love with grief. You are the light of love in a perilous dark place.

Clark Smith
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care


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