CHAPLAIN- A DAY IN THE LIFE: tears, laughs, tragedy

David Southall

I have encouraged staff (unsucessfully in most cases) to share their stories of what they do and why they do it. And I thought you might be interested in mine.

I arrived in work at 8am and had a bleep from Avon 1. A patient was poorly, his relatives were anxious, he was in a side room and had requested communion. I spent 30 minutes or so with this lovely man and agreed to take him communion in the afternoon.

Just as I was leaving the bleep went for another ward. A staff members mother had deteriorated. I had met them the day before. She was a wonderful lady of 95 and she made me laugh as she told me what’s what. I shared some support with her family and then went on my way.

A volunteer came in to see me to talk about whether she could give some time to the hospital, and whilst she was here, I met some people in the most tragic of circumstances. One by one the family members came to see me and there was a huge amount of tears shed. I can’t say what the circumstances are for fear of breaching confidentiality. Let me just say that none of us would want to swap places with them.

And then, just as I was catching my breath, a bleep came. The lady I had seen earlier had passed away peacefully. I went to give some support and prayers as they requested. Again the grief was palpable and tears flowed.

In between, I did some mundane stuff, had numerous laughs and jokes, teased some people; was teased by others. I fired off some emails, published some good stuff on the blog about Avon 1. And went home knackered.

It might not seem much. I didn’t save anyone’s life. I was just there at some extreme times in peoples lives.
Why do I do it? Well, it’s what I do. And I hope it brings some humanity and comfort to those I meet.
Is it important? I don’t know, but it can be to those individuals.
Is it easy? Not really. It’s hard to be in the presence of such raw human emotion and for it not to stick to you.

It was a busy day, but not unusual.
And now you know. Keep reading the blog and passing it on to your friends. David

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4 responses to “CHAPLAIN- A DAY IN THE LIFE: tears, laughs, tragedy

  1. David, it’s not all about saving lives however one could argue sharing the burden can do just that making your job just as important as Nursing and Medical staff. Compassion makes a difference to anyone’s life regardless of beliefs but like the man throwing baby turtles back in the sea we can only affect the people we can get to. Keep up the good work

  2. Kathryn Norwood

    DAVID, you shouldn’t doubt the usefullness of the work you do i have seen how much of a change for the better, that you can make in five minute just by talking to them. its amazing what you do, and our job is assisted so muchby your support, assistance and continuing smile even in difficult times. from me personnally thankyou for all you do xx kathryn n

  3. David, the work you do is such an inspiration to patients & their relatives. Believe me you are a wonderful man and the spiritual care, compassion and the kindness you show comes naturally and from the heart. The help and support you gave my beautiful mom (Beryl Price) and me, dad & Nicky was truely amazing. Don’t ever stop what you are doing David, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did for us as a family. This trust is so lucky to have such a well respected man. Love Truudy xxxxx

  4. David, I need a Facebook style “Like” button for the above comments 🙂

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