Unexpected Gifts

Betsy Schindler, social worker, Gilchrist Hospice Care and Gilchrist Kids

I was driving to Sinai Hospital for a family meeting and as I pulled into their parking lot I began to feel something was not right with my car. I was praying that the pavement was uneven and it was not what I feared it was, but I soon discovered that I did, in fact, have a flat tire. I knew that this was going to be a disruption to my day, but tried to take it in stride and accept that appts would need to be rescheduled. After the family meeting, I called for roadside assistance and soon was on my way to a local tire retailer.

When I arrived at the repair shop, I was greeted by a gentleman who appeared to be in his late 50’s and was quite kind and professional as he took my information. He happened to notice the Gilchrist attire that I was wearing and he became quite tearful and stated “You took care of my son.” He told me that his son died a few days after Christmas last year, but Gilchrist Hospice Care allowed him to come home and spend his last Christmas with his family. He openly praised Gilchrist staff and all they did and praised me for the work I do! He was openly crying at this point and I was talking with him and asked if he and his family had availed themselves of our Bereavement services. He said that they had met with Bereavement counselors and they were very helpful and that his grandson continued to meet with one because he was having a difficult time accepting the loss of his father.

When my repair was done and we were completing the paperwork, this gentleman apologized to me for getting so tearful and I told him that it was fine and attempted to provide reassurance and support. He thanked me for all we do at Gilchrist Hospice Care.

I left the repair shop feeling like this was an unexpected gift. My day was disrupted by a flat tire, but it resulted in my meeting this gentleman, hearing his story and feeling good about what we do.

I thought about how we can all make a difference in the lives of others. Maybe it can be as simple as listening to someone in a long checkout line, allowing someone to take that last parking space, or smiling at some particularly stressed out person. It isn’t just in hospice care that we can make a difference in the daily lives of others. Taking the time to notice the people around us and act in a positive, empathetic manner toward them will not only result in them feeling better, but will be an unexpected gift to yourself.


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