By Kaitlyn Sterneker, FC 18 Syracuse
“Christ’s love compels us […]” is what 2 Corinthians 5 tells us. With us being the object of Christ’s ultimate love and affection, it leaves us fulfilled, complete, and at peace. That feeling of fulfillment and love is how we are compelled to do things we can’t explain, but it just feels right. It feels complete and we are at peace with those decisions.
I normally leave work between 4 and 4:30pm, depending on how much time I spend saying goodbye to the residents. This particular Friday, I was adamant about leaving work on time because my community members and I were headed to Boston that evening and we wanted to leave as soon as possible. For some reason, I felt compelled to sit down for a few minutes and listen to some music with the last resident, who I will call Clare, I was checking in on. The clock struck 4:15 and as I stood up to leave, a compelling feeling persuaded me to sit back down. I decided to pray the rosary with Clare, who was unable to talk and was comfortably resting. I held one hand and rubbed my other hand across her forehead and hairline – a practice I mimicked after my own mother who would always do that to me when I was feeling unwell. The final ‘Amen’ was recited, Clare’s breathing became softer and slower and she had passed away the minute the Rosary had ended.
The caregivers had entered the room. Whenever a resident passes away, there are final prayers we say as we hold the resident while they pass on to peaceful eternity in Heaven. I stayed with Clare until the funeral home personnel arrived. It was 5:10 when I left Francis House. It wasn’t until the next week when I had found out Clare had no family left. It was a privilege to be at her side when she passed. The compelling feeling to stay at work despite my determination to leave on time left me with the most peaceful, humbling, emotional, and meaningful experience of my life.
What compels us to set aside our plans and make these decisions can be debated forever. I believe it’s Christ’s love that allows us to feel at peace and motivate us to go forward with these decisions, decision that leave us feeling fulfilled and complete with those life-changing moments.