Anna Chaplain for Southampton west Margaret Hague ministers at a sheltered housing complex where she tells us how she got to know a 99-year-old resident called Christina.
'I was so blessed to be able to support her with a home blessing which included Communion after she had moved in. Christina came to our weekly 'Tuesdays Together' drop-in and we celebrated her 100th birthday together with her family.'
In time, Christina, 'a keen crafter', was asked if she would like to design that year's Easter card for the Caraway charity (which helps support Southampton's Anna Chaplains).
'She did so with great enthusiasm, offering us a choice of six designs!' said Margaret.
'Sadly, in August Christina became poorly and I was able to spend time with her over several days, also supporting her family as the Lord came and took her home. As we work with the parish in that area we were able to participate in her funeral which took place in the church next to her home.'
It was a precious time for me but I hadn't really appreciated the impact the support of an Anna Chaplain would have on Christina's family and, indeed, continues to have.'
'I thank the Lord for using me in this way and for the ongoing support I am able to offer her eldest daughter Anne (who is 80) and wrote to me:
"There is so much I would like to say to you and really I don't know where to start. I don't think I could ever put into words the help, inspiration and kindness you have been to my dear departed Mum and myself and indeed all our family.
"We all agree that your coming into Mum's life was truly uplifting for her. Before I met you, Mum told me how much she enjoyed Tuesdays at Potter's Court when you visited the residents and sometimes just had a talk but Mum clearly enjoyed the religious side of the afternoon. Mum had a great faith and, dear Margaret, you enhanced this for her. Then I had the privilege of meeting you and little did I know what comfort and help you were going to bring into my life. I had my 80th birthday last Friday and really did not want to celebrate this milestone, as since January this year I have had several traumas to endure (although I have not had the time to discuss these with you – given that my priority was my care for dear Mum).
"Perhaps one day we can meet for that coffee and have a chat. However, for now I just want to say little did I know and perhaps you may not realise not only did you have a profound impact on Mum, but also on me. Your kind words, caring way and all-around warmth restored my low mood which had been hanging around for several months.
"After meeting you, I began to feel uplifted in a way I had not felt for a long time and the day you rang Mum's doorbell you certainly were to me one of life's earth angels. I will never forget the calm that you brought to that moment in my life. Indeed a few days after, I was able to help a very elderly lady in a similar way so, dear Margaret, not only did you help me with your prayers and understanding that day I was falling apart, but I learnt from you the way I could help another elderly lady.
"So I send you a BIG thank you. May the Lord always be with you and give you all the strength to continue your marvellous work and chaplaincy. Please feel free to use these few words in your chaplaincy if it may help someone else – they are from my heart."'