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‘The greatest therapy is friendship and love’

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: My parents are both together in a nursing home and they have difficulty communicating with the nurses and even each other. I am desperate to find a way to comfort them in their last days. It’s bad enough to have strangers caring for them but I am in bad health also and cannot help them in any physical way. I feel guilty and weak myself in this sad time of life. — N.H.

Dear N.H.: Many people who are bedridden find great comfort in listening to the great hymns of the church. Because of technology today, this is possible. There are many resources, not only in music but in recordings that contain Bible reading and devotionals, and even books on tape.
Edith Schaeffer, the widow of the late Francis Schaeffer, was called into the hospital room of her husband who was dying of cancer. Edith surrounded his bed with the things he loved and had music playing in his room many hours a day. As Handel’s “Messiah” was playing one day, he quietly slipped into the presence of the Lord.
Nursing homes can be a great blessing to people who find it impossible to be cared for at home. It is a blessing to hear of family members who not only pray for their loved ones who are residents in such a facility, but to hear them pray for, and with, the caregivers. What a witness and testimony this is.
A famous senator years ago remarked in his last days, “The greatest therapy is friendship and love.” The greatest thing anyone can do for the dying is to help them know God’s peace and promise of eternity with Him. For those who know caregivers, pray for their strength and “all power according to [God’s] glorious might that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11, NIV).
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)