The Rev. Val Cottrill is a United Church hospital chaplain with the South Saskatchewan Hospital Chaplaincy.
“I find her propped up in her hospital bed between two pillows in the orthopedics unit of the Regina General Hospital. She is wrapped in a hospital gown that hangs loosely over her small body. As is the fate of many women in their later years, Margaret fell and fractured her pelvis. She was brought to the hospital because the small rural centre that is her home does not have the medical facilities to attend to her.
At the age of 92, almost all of Margaret’s friends have either died or are themselves frail and incapacitated. Her companion of more than 60 years passed away three years ago. Margaret is now lying in pain, alone and a long way from the faith community that nurtures her.
I listen to Margaret and ask her if she would like me to say a prayer with her. With her permission, I will call her home church and let the folks there know how she is doing.
I visit people like Margaret every day. The chaplain and spiritual care volunteers serve as reminders to the patients and families who are in crisis that they are held in the arms and prayers of their faith community. We can be a port in a storm, a quiet reassurance that they are not alone.”
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