Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Rights

I performed the last rights today.

I was requested by am inmate who has enter the terminal stages of his illness. I have performed the Nenia rite many times, but always for those who have already passed, and for the benefit of those who were left behind.

It is completely different to look him in the eye, and witness the recognition of such a profound moment.

There was nervous laughter as we discussed the Christian and Catholic representatives who had come and offered absolution in exchange for the denouncement of his life long Pagan faith.

I told him I could not offer absolution, it was above my paygrade. And we talked about finding peace.

We discussed life, death and the summerlands. There are no atheist in foxholes and prison is a foxhole.

I read to him a very special book, a book my grandmother read to me and realized how comforting it is to be read to and was happy to give him that.


Frater BH said...

May you be blessed for this work and feel the peace you seek to bestow.

Edmund said...

>>I told him I could not offer absolution, it was above my paygrade>>
Brilliant line. Can I use it? I'm a hospice nurse and am finding it a bit febble to respond that they don't need absolution. Presumptious on my part and unsatisfying for them.