Jacqueline M. Pressey
Entry #18 The Model Maker!
Try being a chaplain after you receive a code page like this one. When I spoke to the nurse and she started telling me the details of this Caucasian women in her early 60’s circumstance’s. My initial visit with her and her husband was in reference to her needing an urgent liver transplant. I talked and prayed with them earlier in that day when she was 1st admitted. Later on, in the early evening I received another page to return to see her, again. The nurse wanted me to be present when they told her about her husband’s accidental death, and that they would be testing his liver to see if he was a match for her.
I was actually a chaplain in shock, this was absolutely unbelievable! I had to wrap my head and emotions around what was about to happen to this patient when she would be told of the events of her situations. I had to become a spiritual care model chaplain in the mist of hurting for a patient that I had previously met with. This is an inside view of what Clinical Pastoral Education does for us. It is the Model Maker for many chaplains to be able to train, learn, develop, and grow in their pastoral authority on how to handle and set an example within patient spiritual care and trauma on so many different levels. Our pastoral care scriptural calling and duties for the Christian faith tradition states:
Are there any sick among you? Then ask the elders of the church
to come and pray over the sick and anoint them with oil in the
name of our Lord. And the prayer of faith will heal the sick and
the Lord will raise them up, and if they have committed sins,
they will be forgiven. (James 5:14-16, TPT)
This story of this husband-and-wife’s tragedy was devastating to all of the hospital staff surrounding them including myself. She needed an urgent liver transplant, they had given her about 60 days to live if she didn’t get one. And her husband that had sat in the chair beside her hospital bed and told her that he loved her and he would take care of it, died. The patient kept telling me this over and over, again as she was sobbing, staring, and pointing at the chair where her husband had last sat in their final moments together, about 4 hours prior. Her husband, went home, and fell and hit his head on the counter in their kitchen. He died in emergency in the same hospital as his wife laid waiting for a liver transplant. Sadly, they tested to see if his liver was a match for his wife. She received the results about 2am in the morning with me present. He was a match for his wife, but his liver had too much damage, so his liver wasn’t viable to be transplanted in his wife. There were absolutely know words that I could say to her, so in her quietness and her tears, I just started singing softly this little child’s song:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
Yes, Jesus loves me,
For the Bible tells me so.
I moved closer to her and put my hand on her leg. She moved closer to me and laid her head on my shoulder and started softly singing with me through her tears. I stayed with her for hours until she finally went to sleep and I left her during sunrise as my 24 hours shift was soon to be over. To close this story out, she was admitted several more times during the next 60 days. She would request for me to visit during her hospital stays. The reality that she wasn’t going to receive a liver transplant in time to save her life, so our focus of comfort changed. I saw her another 3 times before her last visit when she passed away. By then it was as if I had lost a sweet suffering friend. Stated by a Hospice Chaplain, “I believe that real health is a product of the soul, and truly some of the healthiest people I have ever met are hospice patients” (Swan, 2018, p. 11).
There are many moments that can test one’s humanity. Serving the sick takes a special grace gift and love for others. A model maker chaplain is at its very core an individual that has been given a special heart/calling for this. To be able to bare the suffering of others and show, compassion with strength, empathy with comfort, and to sometimes be present without words is what I have grown to understand and become. I know that I have shared my own suffering and the suffering of others to be a supportive comforting presence, yet to maintain the professionalism and tenacity that the chaplain calling requires. I wasn’t paid to do this; I was called to do this. As many of us have volunteered to be professional trained to be in the position to give our best to those we serve. I know I had to grow in my chaplain pastoral authority, it was tough, but necessary. Sometimes, I had to remind myself why I needed to go through the chaplain model makers process, Clinical Pastoral Care Education. It was because I wanted to serve the sick in pastoral excellence. What about you?
Here’s a sneak preview, “The Royal Palace of Holier than Thou!”
Until next time.
For the sake of the Chaplain’s healing Call!
Chaplain Jacqueline M. Pressey, Ed.D.
Jesus Loves Me (2017). Retrieved April 4, 2021 from
Swan, D. (2018). HOSPICE HOPE (1st ed.). Published by DiggyPOD Digital Printing.