I have to go back to the time when Den got shocked in church. Now, it all happened so fast at the time, but I will never forget the days that followed. I clearly remember waiting for our pastor, who was presiding over the mass that morning, to pass our pew so we could get Den out of there and to the hospital. I will also never forget the kindness and compassion that Keith, one of our ushers and a fellow parishioner showed to us by helping get Den to the car safely.
In the days that followed, my faith was shaken when I called our rectory to ask for one of the priests or deacons to come see Den in the hospital. At first, I left a message in the evening of the event letting them know Den was admitted and asked for a visit from someone. When I didn’t get a call back or a visit to Den by anyone, I called on Tuesday. The parish secretary told me that, “We don’t do that. Call for a hospital Chaplin.” I was dumb struck. All I could think was…a man almost dies in your church and no one will come see him in the hospital 10 minutes away? WTF! This is when I figured out we could not count on the holders of our faith to be with us in our hour of need. We would have to count on ourselves and those we could surround ourselves with to keep our faith in God and the doctors to keep Den alive. I understand that the leaders of our church have a lot on their plates with running the whole shebang and their time is limited.
We did ask for the Chaplin to come and see Den. But to our surprise, a priest from Den’s old parish (in the next town from our current parish) was walking by and recognized Den! He came in and talked to Den for a while. He had just come from visiting someone from that parish who was also in the hospital. I think it helped Den’s state of mind to be able to talk to him. Den also got to receive communion at that time. So I guess it is just our parish that doesn’t go to the hospitals….at least that’s how is looks to us.
The best part of our parish experience with Den’s illness has been the times when one of our deacons would come every week to make sure Den got communion. He would call ahead to make sure we were home, then stop by and talk to Den however long he needed to talk, then give Den communion and do it all again the following week. I think it was one of the brightest spots in Den’s week while he was home bound. There were times that he was Den’s only physical visitor all week, Em and I don’t count as visitors!
I have since renewed my faith in my church and have tried to rededicate myself to being a good christian woman. I am a regular lector at mass and look forward to reading every time I am asked. Den, Em and I try to attend regularly, but with his health our attendance has not been stellar, but we do the best we can.