In one week, separated only by a day, our spiritual center saw two former members make their transitions. One was the founding minister, and the other was a member of the first congregation.
I had the privilege of visiting our founding minister about two weeks earlier. She no longer lived in our little town, having moved to the desert for more round-the-clock care. She recognized both me and my friend, who had known her longer and worked for her.
I found the woman so changed that it was hard not to react overtly. Now bedridden, she was pale and weak. I was grateful for my hospice care experience, as I moved smoothly into talking with her professionally. Otherwise, I think I would have been at a loss for words.
She told us she was ready to go at any time, with a voice so quiet I wasn’t sure at first what she said. It was clear then that she knew what was coming. She asked for prayer, which I gladly gave her, as she was the one who taught me a new way to pray years ago. It felt natural, like a gift and a tribute.
Our other long-time member passed away first, after a serious fall and surgery. We were all saddened, especially for his wife and family. He and his wife were in the process of moving to live closer to their adult children and hospitals.
When our former minister transitioned two days later, it was a shock. Several members and former members wanted our center to arrange for a memorial service, but her family was making plans to hold the service where her husband was buried. I honored the family’s wishes, feeling it was not our place to make the plans.
Loss is part of the circle of life. The influence of these two people will live on in our town. I know we will honor their memory.