I walked briskly up the dark gravel road dodging mud puddles heading toward the hospital from our home. My mind was racing over the scenarios I would find on arrival at B ward. Minutes before I had received a phone call asking me to come quickly to the internal medicine ward, they were doing CPR on a patient and needed me. There really is only one way to prepare for this kind of emergency, to pray. My pace did not slow down but my mind calmed as I talked with God With 50 feet left to my destination I could hear the loud wails and knew there was nothing more I could do, the patient had passed away.
I slackened my pace and calmly walked onto the medicine ward. One of the nursing staff met me at the door and filled me in on what had happened. Mrs. K, 70y/o female, was admitted earlier that day for an obstructed small bowel. She then aspirated and fell into respiratory failure and the staff had valiantly attempted CPR. Despite their care she slipped away. Would I talk to the family please?
After briefly reviewing her chart I met with the family and explained what had happened to their mother. Next I asked the family if Mrs K had give her life to Christ and trusted him. There were affirmative nods all round the large group gathered round her bed. We talked about how we were sad she had passed away but glad she was now with Christ and that she had no more sickness, or pain, and was happy in the presence of Christ. My heart ached for the family’s loss. They had not had time to say goodbye given the sudden parting of there mother. In PNG culture it is very important to say good bye and mend any hurts. I then prayed with the family in Pidgin and English.
I left the family, signed the death certificate and left the hospital with a heavy heart. As I walked home alone down the dark road I continued to wrestle with the events of the last half hour. I didn’t know Mrs. K, but it still hurts to lose someone under your care.
After completing my night’s work I had some time off the next morning. I was listening to Matt Maher’s song Christ is Risen and reflecting on Mrs K’s story.
Christ is risen from the dead,
We are one with Him again,
Come awake, Come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave.
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory,
O church, come stand in the light,
Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive!
O death, where is your sting? The heaviness was replaced with joy. In the midst of pain and death, there is hope. Our God is not dead, he is alive! He’s Alive! Happy Easter.