Wesley Woods provides communities of joy, laughter and inspired living. For those blessed with the gift of years, a full life may also include grief and loneliness. To ensure residents continue to thrive spiritually, chaplains serve in each Wesley Woods community, encouraging older adults to stay connected to their faith through worship, prayer and Bible study. They visit residents in the hospital, counsel through struggle and loss and help them find purpose and hope.
CHAPLAINS STAND IN THE GAP
A resident learned that her sister and aunt, who had raised her, died from Covid-19. She wanted to fly to California to attend the funeral, but her family wisely insisted it would not be safe. Instead, they arranged for her to be part of the memorial via Zoom.
She talked with me about her grief and feeling disconnected from those she loves. I listened as she processed her anger and the loss of being with family to say goodbye. She said, “I never knew the real purpose of a chaplain, but the comfort I received just talking to you showed me why we need you.” Chaplains stand in the gap during this time and listen.
To make a gift to support the pastoral care program, visit wesleywoods.org/foundation.
THE LONGEVITY AND LOVE OF WESLEY WOODS BY REV. SUSAN AMICK
As a chaplain, I provide spiritual support to residents – and their families -- and as the old saying goes, you receive more than you give. Martha Jones lived at Wesley Woods Towers for over 20 years. She was the pianist and choir director for the Vespers service, and her love of music continued to the very end of her earthly life. Near the end, Martha’s granddaughter, Tara, called me because she wanted to sing to her grandmother but could not bring herself to do it without tears. I went to Martha’s apartment with a hymnal and began singing. Martha opened her eyes wide and was very alert for the next hour as I sang. Her granddaughter sat in the bed beside her and talked with her, hugged and kissed her for the longest time, and Martha squeezed her hand knowingly. As Tara tearfully prepared to leave for the airport, I kept my place across the room, in Martha’s eyesight, and sang until she settled into sleep. As a finale to a life well lived, I recently had the privilege to preside at a Memorial Service for Martha as her family gathered via Zoom. Understanding that Wesley Woods Chaplains are only possible through donor support, Martha’s family requested donations to the Foundation of Wesley Woods to pay it forward. I invite you to help support this ministry and all that it means to residents like Martha and their families.
THE WESLEY WOODS DIFFERENCE
Wesley Woods chaplain, Rev. Rick Nevard (pictured left), shares the story of a resident who came to his office after starting a grief support group. She confided she had been abused as a child and carried the burden of this sorrow for almost 70 years! She poured out her pain and the journey of grief she traveled to find peace and offer forgiveness. When the resident finished, she remarked, “I don’t know why I told you all of this. I guess it’s because I feel safe and know I can trust you. I am so glad you are here.”