I sat beside his hospital bed and held his hand; his voice was barely audible over the sound of the ventilator. He kept his eyes closed most of the time but, every so often, his hand would grip mine a little tighter as if to make sure I was still there.
I drove nine hours to be there but, I have to be honest, I’ve not always been the best at showing up. I always worried about saying the wrong thing, appearing awkward, and a host of other self-centered concerns. I went back and forth on whether I should make this particular trip. But, as I drove that entire day, I felt God whispering, “You’ll never regret showing up for someone.”
At one point, he asked for me. Though we had interacted on Facebook, I hadn’t seen my uncle in ten years. Yet, as I waited outside of his room while others visited, he asked for me and said that he loved me.
I was in the room when the nurse commented on what a wonderful family he had and my uncle replied, “Hmph, they’re okay.” Then, he winked at me.
I was present when the nurse came in to remove the ventilator and he whispered, “I’m going to die, today.”
Then, as he lay unconscious, I ran my fingers through his hair, caressed his face and held his hands. It was, by far, the saddest and hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, as I drove home 72 hours later having never left the hospital and still wearing the same clothes I showed up in, I knew those moments were all gifts from the Lord.
You’ll never regret showing up for someone.
Do the hard thing.
Get your hands dirty.
Love people well.
Enter into someone else’s grief.
You won’t regret it.
You are loved. <3