Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Fear, confusion & frustration is what I noticed as she frantically tried to leave the hospice unit. All Mrs. Ruby wanted was to go home. Her anger only grew as she was continually redirected from the door. It wasn't her fault. Ruby believed she was at the local farmers market and needed to get home to prepare dinner. I decided I would join her for a walk. I casually approached Mrs. Ruby and said, " wow, look at that storm brewing out there, it's probably a good idea to hold off on any trips home right now". She agreed and off we went walking around th81e farmers market that existed to just Mrs. Ruby and I. We walked and talked and I remember her telling me how delicious the jam was here from Ol' Bob.
I agreed and recommended we take a break. Mrs. Ruby was getting frustrated again about not being able to go home. I calmly suggested that we take a break before she began her long journey home. Surprisingly she agreed and we made our way to her room. At the unit I volunteer at theres always a resident profile page posted on their door. I glanced over it and seen that she was raised christian and her father was a pastor. I could tell from our conversations that she was a very intelligent women and I could see how frustrated she would become by not being able to convey what she was trying to communicate to me.
I remember sitting there and thinking, " I wish I could just heal her". It hurt seeing her so confused. The more she tried to speak to me the more frustrated she would become.
I was all out of ideas on how to comfort her. I had one last idea, and that was prayer. I asked Mrs. Ruby if she would like to join me in prayer, I remember her eyes lighting up like two stars in the sky. I kneeled beside her bed and she grabbed my hands. We bowed our heads and the most beautiful thing happened. This women who could hardly speak in full coherent sentences began to praise the lord with such a powerful and authoritative tone. It was amazing. Mrs. Ruby knew exactly what she was saying and for a brief moment she was free. Free from the hold that Alzheimers had on her, free from hospice, and most importantly free from pain.
Mrs. Ruby blessed me that day. I have never felt prayer as powerful as that ever before. Prayer turned all of her fear, anger, and anxiety into happiness, and for the remainder of the day we walked around and she told everyone that walked by us about how powerful of a moment we had. She said that we had talked to God. I remember her saying, "Michael wasn't that just the most amazing thing you've ever experienced", I smiled at her and agreed. The clock struck 9 pm and it was time for me to go home. I walked her to her room and told her goodnight. Although we just met walking out that door was difficult. I felt so guilty leaving her there. All she wanted to do was go home, and here I am now going home. We get so caught up in life that it is easy to take the many simplicities of life for granted. My experience with Ruby taught me to always take the time to appreciate life.
The following week I brought my pocket bible so I could read scriptures to Mrs. Ruby. I was disappointed to hear that she had been transferred to a different unit. To this day I always look around the unit to see if maybe she is there somewhere. Our paths have yet to cross again but Mrs. Ruby will always have a special place in my heart. Although I couldn't heal Mrs. Ruby that day I believe I was able to free her from her suffering. Even if it was for just a brief moment I am thankful that I was able to help her and thankful that I got to see the joy it brought her. I learned from Mrs. Ruby that it is very important to be thankful for everything life gives you. Be thankful for the little things such as being able to go home because some people don't have that opportunity. Always appreciate the little things in life because you never know when they can be taken from you.
(although the story is true the name used is fictional due to HIPPA rules and ensuring patient privacy)