This week, I was driving on the PA Turnpike en route to Hershey Medical Center where I was planning to visit a patient and her family. During my trip, I checked in by phone (hands free, bluetooth!) with another client whose dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. Our plan was to talk that day so I could assess how I might be able to help. When I first reached him, he asked if I could call back since he was in a store. I said, “Sure. I’m in my car on the way to Hershey so call me back when you can talk.” He responded, “Hershey? I live 5 minutes from Hershey.” Surprised, because I thought he lived in northeast PA, I said, “Oh, well, do you want me to just stop over and meet your dad?” He said, “Sure.” And so we made plans for me to visit after my trip to the hospital.
When I finally made it to his home, his entire family was there, all gathered around the dining room table, with his dad at the head. We shared cheese and crackers and apple cider, and talked about dad’s diagnosis, their feelings about it, what he’d like to do in terms of treatment, and besides answering their questions, how I could help. His family made jokes when they could and shed tears when the seriousness of the discussion creeped in.
Afterward, driving home, I was grateful that I was able to sit down with the family as opposed to just talking with the son and his dad over the phone. I was grateful that this family welcomed me into their holiday home, engaged in a difficult discussion about their father’s cancer and agreed to let me help. I was witness to their love and concern for him as they prepare for accompanying him on what will be a life-changing journey.
Sometimes a little serendipity goes a long way.