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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Insights into an Anna Chaplain's care at end-of-life

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

The privilege of giving end-of-life care. Eileen Simmons writes:


A few days ago I had an unexpected phone call from the other side of the world. I shall call her Sally, and it was one of those precious times of conversation prompted by the Holy Spirit. Sally is a devout Christian born in my locality, but has lived abroad for very many years. Until the pandemic we saw her most years when she came to this country to stay with her mother. She has not been able to come England since 2019.

Sally phoned to thank me for my care for her mother. I had the privilege, along with others, to visit her mother both at home, where she had full time live-in care, and when needed in hospital. Her mother died recently and I had the privilege of spending time in her own home, praying with her, and reading the Bible together and talking about her total Christian conviction that soon she would be joining her beloved deceased husband in heaven. She died peacefully in her sleep just a couple of days after my last visit. A good death after a long life of 94 years.

Anna Chaplain in Leigh-on-Sea, Eileen Simmons

Inability of some to speak of death

Since I became an Anna Chaplain I have come to realise how important it is to talk openly of death. Currently I am doing telephone befriending and one of my lovely, gentle and compassionate ladies, whom I will call Mary, loves to talk about her wonderful husband who died eight years ago. Like many others, I know she has found that many people just cannot cope with talking about bereavement and avoid any such conversation. Mary and I have had two anniversaries of her husband’s death and I simply encourage her to tell me about him and it seems to help so much. Her stories are so loving. Mary is not a Christian, but this is not significant. She has all the love for neighbours that we hope committed Christians would show. She tells me that her sense of loss does not lessen, but I want her story to be heard. It is my privilege and joy to listen.

Eileen Simmons, Anna Chaplain Leigh-on-Sea, Essex



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