Today, my husband and I along with our child went to visit one of my husband’s church members who is dying. We had another engagement to attend and needed to stop by on our way.
AJ has been to visit people dying before. I do not know how much AJ understands, or any child his age would understand, but he visited my grandmother in her last days. He seems to know something is different as we gather around the hospital bed, as oxygen lines run from the person to a machine. He crept around the bed slowly, and the woman’s eyes opened. She smiled and waved, ever-so-gently, to him. And he smiled back.
Five minutes before, he was having a meltdown in the kitchen of this home because he wanted to eat something and had opened the fridge, and I had said “no.” Pastoral visitations with him in tow have been difficult in the past–he wants to get into anything and everything. He is starting to understand that he cannot eat food off of other people’s plates, but as evidenced by the next home we visited where there was a New Year’s celebration, he took a cookie, tore off a piece and put the rest back on the platter. I had to follow behind to pick up the pieces he left on the platter, to put on his plate and remind him to eat off of his own plate.
I don’t normally bring him on pastoral visits, and neither does my husband, but every now and then it cannot be avoided. And while it can be awkward and difficult, I’m glad he visited this woman today, and gave her a reason to smile and wave one more time.