Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

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I will never get over the sound of her voice whispering, “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you”. We had just had a lovely conversation about the treasures she and her husband had collected through 26 years of marriage. It felt like a sacred walk through their love story: the quilt she made, a necklace he bought her, artwork from a special season. The brain tumor caused her speech to be slow and hesitant, but her husband moved quickly, instinctively knowing each item she wanted to show. Gloria had been in hospice for almost a year. She and her husband both knew she was not going to recover. But now that the end was near, fear was overtaking her. The hospice nurse suggested a visit from the chaplain. By then, I knew my job with hospice led me to holy ground and I internally took my shoes off as I entered their home that day. For someone who was at the end of her life, Gloria was not only glowing, but had a beautiful fragrance about her. After we talked about her special treasures and memories, we held hands and prayed. Then her husband motioned to me that Gloria wanted to hug me. As I leaned over, she wrapped her arms around my neck and whispered to me, “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you”. There was no hesitation in her words or slowness in her speech. She seemed to have been lifted to another domain. It was as if sharing stories of love and life replaced her fears with gratitude and she found peace. I left Gloria knowing I had been on holy ground. And now when I am grateful, I whisper with her over and over, “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you”.