Yesterday marked a first for me as a Wiccan Priest. I was asked by a friend to be present as not only a friend, but as Clergy for her and her 3 children for what would be the either the passing or moving of her husband from ICU to hospice care. Her husband had fallen ill in mid September and taken to a Hospital in southern Indiana near where they lived. After being their for a few weeks and off and on a respirator he seemed to be making little progress and they had him moved to I.U. Hospital here in Indy.
Now before I continue with my story let me give you a little more background. I told you that this marked a first for me as a Priest, that I have counseled a family through a passing which it did. While I have know folks in the community that have passed, those passing's have been sudden and unexpected, and mostly when I was a much younger man than I am now. Never was I present for any of them. My friend who I was honored to be there for is in my age group (early 40's) while her husband was in his mid 60's. Her 4 children while not biologically her husbands were very much his and the only father they really knew.
Continuing with my tale now. After his move to I.U. here in Indy he never seemed to get much better nor ever off the respirator. A couple of days ago she made the tough decision after much thought and talk with those she loved and trusted that it was time to let her husband go and not prolong his stay here in this world. His body had begun shutting down and his kidneys were now in failure. So yesterday myself and another member of my Circle meet them at the hospital. When we got their our friend was already in the room with her husband in ICU with her children and another friend that had come up with them. We stayed in the room for a few minutes after we had gotten their when she decided that it was time. We all went out to the waiting area and talked for a few minutes, for those of you that know me believe it or not I did a lot of listening and very little talking.
My friend asked me if I would stay out in the waiting area with her children while she and her friend and my circle mate which was also a friend of hers went in to be present for the respirators removal. She did not want the kids present for this and being a father myself I completely understood this. She felt the kids would need more more than she would at this point. I agreed with her , gave her my best counsel, handed her the pentagram I was wearing around my neck and gave her a kiss on the forehead. They went off back to the ICU.
I sat with her kids all of which I knew and asked them to tell me about their memories of their step-dad of which they all did. Again I did more listening than talking. While here kids had been for the most part raised Pagan they had questions about death and transition, which I tried my best to answer for them. I told them how we believe that when you transition from this world to the next those that have gone before you that are loved ones are waiting on the other side to welcome you and give reunion. About how we believe we go on to be reborn into a new body at a time and place of our choosing. Then they just wanted to talk so I listened. It did not seem very long in mind when my circle mate came out to the waiting are to let me know that he had passed and that his passing was very peaceful from this world to the next. She and I gave the kids a moment then gathered them up to go be with their mom.
We returned to the room in ICU where I believe a felling of peace had settled over it. While are were sad there was also a feeling of relief in it knowing that their loved one had now made the transition to the next world. The hospital Chaplin came by and I have to admit she was awesome and very respectful of our Wiccan beliefs. After a few minutes with her we all went back to the waiting area so the ICU staff could clean up the body so to speak and my friend had asked me if I would take the kids back one at a time and say their goodbyes. This I did and was honored to be able to be their for my friend and all of her teen children. After that she asked me to accompany her so she could say her goodbyes as well.
After having had this experience yesterday with friends I feel quite a bit changed. This was an aspect to my faith that I always knew that I would one day have to deal with, but I did not think it would come so soon. I am honored that I was able to be there for my friends and support them not only emotionally but spiritually as well. I am sure I will spend more than a few hours in contemplation over this experience and how it has now affected my life in many different ways. Until next time my dear friends and readers, Blessed Be!