Thought For The Day 07/10/12


The Last and Best Gift We Can Bestow



When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice. 

Indian Saying


This has been adapted from a previous post of mine, written nearly a year ago, 07/17/11.



Loss has occupied my mind so much in recent months. And while sudden loss is so very devastating for families, even when there is time to prepare for those final moments of life, so many find themselves traveling down the road and into the face of the unknown, alone and without support. However, more and more hospitals and community agencies find themselves relying on the invaluable services of individuals who act as a spiritual guide in helping so many through the difficult days as one’s life force wanes. Not all people of faith are prepared for the role as a Hospice Chaplain, but when drawn to this area of ministry, the Chaplain becomes an indispensable member of the medical team in managing the care needs of the dying.


Every family who chooses Hospice care comes into the program with their own views on dying. These views were either learned by years of witnessing the passing of family members, or learned as part of the cultural and religious teachings received throughout their lives. And it should never be the place of those outside the family dynamic to attempt to foster new beliefs to those who enter the realm of the dying. Indeed, what we must do is work to learn and understand the preconceived notions or beliefs already in place and then tailor the services we provide to those existing foundations of faith. Our natural instinct as people of faith, whether supportive care providers or clergy, is to try to heal the spirit of those who are suffering. That is not the case with Hospice because with physical pain, suffering and dying comes it’s emotional and spiritual counterpart. And it is a gentle guiding of the spirit of those who are terminally ill to their predetermined destination with the all-encompassing power which has guided their life, that needs to be the mission of the supportive network of providers. Now I stated “all-encompassing power” rather than God because there will be times when the family we service will request or desire chaplaincy services, even if they are not Christian.


Hospice chaplaincy requires a commitment to being available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Death is not a 9 to 5 job and so understanding that you may be called to support a patient and family in the middle of the night is a very real possibility. You leave your home, often in the middle of the night, driving long distances on roads empty of cars. This type of commitment impacts everyone in the family of the chaplain and it is my belief that deciding on this type of service requires a family “sit down” where everyone’s opinion needs to be voiced and listened to. If your spouse is not comfortable with the possibility being alone at night, sometimes for hours at a time, then you need to re think the decision to embark on this path. Dying does not wait for your sick child to get better. Dying does not wait for your dinner to be finished and your dishes washed. Dying does not wait for the celebratory times in your life, like birthdays, to be over.


So many people who are considering Hospice care as their vocation believe they will be able to maintain a degree of emotional detachment and that they will be able to handle witnessing the dying of another without being overly affected. This generally is not the case. Every single family cared about and for will become a part of your heart and you will cry and feel remorse and grieve their loss with the same pain they themselves feel. There are generally 2 polar opposites when it comes to providing Hospice care……the person for whom Hospice becomes a passion and they find they are able to provide spiritual care to the dying community for the long haul….and the person who finds that each case they see becomes harder and harder until discovering, often surprisingly, the realization strikes that you can’t face one more death. And there is nothing wrong with either scenario. We are human and each of us has our own capacity for being able to handle the roller coaster ride of emotions that Hospice service brings. However, a great deal introspection as well as prayer are not just fundamental, but imperative, as well, before embarking on this vocation. If there is a little voice that questions the decision to begin this type of ministry, then it should be postponed for the time being. But when it feels right, the role of Hospice Chaplain is tremendously rewarding and leads us to provide the most important gift we can bestow on families facing end of life, which is generally life’s most difficult challenge for us all!


Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:23-26


Copyright © 2011-2012 “MandysPath” Ministry


About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

2 responses »

  1. One of my dearest friends since grade school is a Hospice Chaplain. She has the sweetest spirit – a reflection of Christ’s love – her faith is strong but there have been many tears because each patient, each family become a part of her heart.

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