John's Story

 In July, 2014 I received a call from the Probate Court in the County in which I reside, asking me if I would be guardian for a man named John, who was living in a nursing home in our County.  Over the years I have served as guardian for a variety of people in nursing homes who have no one else who is able or willing to serve as their guardian.

So I drove to the nursing home where the man was staying to visit him, and to inform him that I had been asked to be his guardian.  I found him to be well able to communicate, and thoroughly convinced that he has no need of a guardian in spite of the fact that he was struggling to breathe due to acute pulmonary disease!  I told him that the doctor at the nursing home, the nursing home staff and the hospice nurse all agreed that he needed someone to pay his bills, to manage his assets and to supervise his care.  He said gruffly, "I don't need a guardian!!!!"  I said, "But you are not paying your nursing home bill."  He replied, "They don't bring my coffee on time!!!"

When I finished telling him that I was going to go ahead with a guardianship application, I also informed him that an optional service I offer clients is prayer.  A hospice nurse was there in his room, having just met with him for hospice care.  He immediately said, "I don't believe in God!"  I said, "He gets that response all the time, and He doesn't care.  Our faith will fill the gap between you and Him."  He  was shocked at such a thought, so when I held out my hands to hold his hand and the nurse's hand in a prayer circle, he joined hands with me and her.  I prayer for God's best for John and his family, said "I'll see you later," and left the nursing home.

  When I got back to my office I proceeded to apply for and obtain appointment as his guardian.  I visited John several times, and found him to be a cantankerous old cuss who had alienated his former wife and children to the point that none of them wanted to care for him or his miserable cat, or even be his guardian.

I also found that John owned a cat which was a cantankerous old cuss of a cat which the one family member I talked to said was a mean old cat.  The cat was living alone in John's vacated residence.  I contacted the veterinarian who had recently treated the cat, and the vet described the cat as un-adoptable because it was such a mean old cat.

About a month later I had occasion to visit with John as I was in the area of his nursing home and stopped by to see how he was doing.  When I arrived at the nursing home the nurse at the front desk exclaimed, "You're just in time!  John is failing fast, and I am just about to call his daughters to tell them 'If you are going to come, come!  Your dad is failing fast!'.  She actually phoned John's daughter while I was there to tell her that the time for last visits with her father had apparently arrived.  I went to John's room and found him lying in his bed, struggling for every breath, and obviously agitated.  I asked John if he wanted me to pray for him.  He shook his head "No".  Then I asked John the most important thing I could think to ask.  I asked him if he knew that he could ask Jesus Christ to come into his heart to save him from his sins.  He just looked at me, then looked away to the place where one looks when one is thinking deep thoughts.  So I began to quietly pray for John, asking our heavenly Father to be merciful to him because Jesus had willingly died for John and all people, so the price was paid for John's salvation from his sins.

A nurse had walked with me to John's room, and had seen John's condition when I entered his room.  She had left to do some chore, and returned a minute or so later and exclaimed, "What did you do?!!"  I was startled, and said "What do you mean?"  She replied, "He is all peaceful and calm, and we have never seen him peaceful and calm!  That nurse then left John's room to round up other staffers, saying, "Come see John!  He's all peaceful and calm!!"  Then several nurses came to the door of John's room to see him apparently resting peacefully.  One nurse attached a pulse monitor to John's finger, and I noticed that it showed that his pulse was 70.

I told the attending nurse, "You are just in time for the Father George Story if you are interested in hearing the Father George story.  She said that she had not heard it, and asked me to tell her the story. As soon as I began to tell her the story, the resident nursing home physician came into the room to check on John's condition.  In all of my years of serving residents of that nursing home I had never met that doctor, but I did that day.  He checked John's heart with his stethoscope, but made no comment.  So I proceeded to tell the nurse and the doctor the Father George Story, and they both responded thankfully that it was a good story.  Then the pulse monitor beeped and showed that John's pulse had lapsed to zero.  The doctor pronounced John dead, and the nurses spread the word that John had passed away.  All seemed to be amazed that John had died so quickly and peacefully.  The nurse who had phoned John's daughter to come for a final visit phoned the daughter again to tell her that John had passed away.  I had never been present when a person passed away, and found the experience to be very peaceful and unemotional.

So, last Thursday was a rather unusual day.  The daughter phoned me that afternoon to thank me for being with her father when he passed away.  She was comforted to know that her father had not died alone.  I took that opportunity to give her a detailed report of what had happened and what I had told her dad and had prayed for her dad, and she was thankful.  The next morning John's other daughter phoned me to also tell me thanks for being with her dad when he passed away, and I also told her what had happened, and told her the Father George Story too.  She told me that she had been a caregiver for twenty years, and told me that her experience was that people who 'had God in their hearts' had the easiest and most peaceful passing, compared to those who did not have God in their hearts, whose death was often very traumatic!

I am thankful for this experience and the reports from the caregivers who gave me some perspective concerning this event which was unique to me but not uncommon to many caregivers.  And I hope that you, dear reader, will come away with the knowledge that you too can ask Jesus to come into your heart and save you from your sins - which may be the most important transaction in your life!!