Thursday, June 17, 2010


I once crouched next to a woman and her husband as he was dying. He had collapsed in a soccer match and half of his body was numb from a massive stroke, but he was still conscious. He was terrified. His wife knelt gracefully beside him, sobbing gently, and stroking the side of his face that could still feel her hand. She was terrified.

I happened to be there when he collapsed and offered the small medical training I have more as comfort than treatment until a doctor emerged from the crowd of gathered people to take control of the situation. She checked his vital signs and asked him questions and ordered people about until an ambulance arrived and the buzz of movement was amplified by paramedics as they prepared to move him to an ambulance and eventually the hospital where he would die.

The man and his wife never broke eye contact. Amidst all of the moving bodies, amidst all of the questions and medical devices and the oxygen mask they were still. Terrified but present; not just afraid, but alive. As she stroked his cheek all she said was, "I love you." Over and over again. I love you.

Bless you both. You have no idea what a gift you gave in that moment.