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Are you one I would be asked to call??

November 12, 2012

Having been called to the second death notification in 5 days I have set aside some mediation time on what I have learned. I feel I have grown eons in the past few days just being in the presence of those who have had to launch a walk on a path that none of us would welcome. Being a police chaplain one of the calls to assist my brothers and sisters comes when someone in our community dies. Unfortunately, I have been referred to as the “angel of death”. When I come to the door with a Chaplain coat on or when I, or one of my officers, introduce myself as the Police Chaplain, it is not the happiest of receptions. Five years in I have truly understood the calling for this role. A police officer is to stay on the move, keep the peace, enforce the laws, and make our community safer, ever ready to tend to the emergencies that arise within it. It is my role to accompany and then remain at the home of one of the most difficult of calls that a police officer has to respond to. They must continue forward, and they do with heavy hearts but comforted knowing that, if possible, I will continue their compassionate extension of sincere consolation. At every death notification I hope to help bridge the gap from being alone to being surrounded by those that can help support the grieving family. What has left me in deep meditation on this evening is the one question I ask, “Can I call someone to be here with you at this time?” Just over the past 5 days I have experienced those that are blessed with many who will hold them up and those that are going to have a more difficult time. In this age of social media the phrase “Friend” has truly been diluted. One can have hundreds, maybe thousands of “friends”, but are you the real “friend” that I will be asked to call? If I am at your home for a death, I will not leave until I see you surrounded with a support system that will carry you through the most difficult first few days. Sometimes I will reappear at your home for days just to make sure that you have everything you need. I walk with you and I want there to be others who will do that long after I move on. When I ask this question my heart holds it’s beat hoping for you to respond with names of family and friends who will accompany you through this most difficult storm. I cannot express in words the pain I feel when I have been with someone who has little or no one to call. This makes me evaluate what kind of friend I am. Would you tell someone to call me? Do you feel I would be one that would hold you together when you feel like your world is falling apart? How can I, how can we be THAT friend? Are we willing to make that emotional commitment in an overscheduled, self-consumed, stressful and pressure filled world? Being a mother, my heart breaks with the calls to notify and sit with a mom who has lost her child. It doesn’t matter the age. I’ve sat with moms of babies, teens, and adults who are trying to figure out what they did wrong and how they could’ve averted this horrible outcome. It takes every ounce of strength within me to stay focused on comforting and not give in to personalizing. What would I do? Who would I call? At 3am on November 5th, 2005 my mom called me. My father was dying. I immediately got in the car, drove 45 minutes and arrived to their home in time to help the hospice nurse clean and prepare my father for the funeral home to take his body from the house. On that day I realized the importance of being on the other end of that call. Since that day I, ironically, have made that call for many people and I can’t help but to identify with that and pray that when I call the person I am requested to call that they will answer and react immediately and compassionately. I have to admit I know I have not extended myself enough to be one that I feel you would know you could call. I tend to move at a fast pace, not stopping to sit, listen and connect, and asking how you are, but maybe not putting aside the thoughts running in my head that keep me from hearing your answer. I am sorry. I want to be that friend. I want to be there if you are struggling to think about who will hold you up when you know you need a hand to walk that path. Who will sit with you in silence when there are no words to say but there is support to offer. I ask you to think about those that might call you. I ask you to awake tomorrow with the goal of trying to put aside the busyness when you are around those you love and care about. I ask you to live this day assured that you are gifted. We are not given life and the gift of days to be islands. Living, breathing humans need to be cared for, cared about, and loved. It is every single one of our responsibilities to fulfill that calling for those that are within our arm’s reach. I lay down tonight praying for those who have lost and praying for those that are called to hold their hands. Either role is a very difficult and taxing one. Let us love with wild abandonment and care from the depths of our heart. Only when we do this might we be the ones who show love to the ones who are on the brink of leaving this world, and possibly prevent that end result, or show support to comfort to those who have lost. Wishing you peace, love and comfort, Terri “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31: 8-9 Terri O’Neill-Borders Email- Website- Hope and Friendship Foundation 721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL 60439 630-816-4972


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