A friend who is caring for her ailing mom in a nearby state texted me on Friday.
"Know you would appreciate this. The church ladies have indeed kicked in. I'm looking at a lemon meringue pie with 2-inch high meringue, having just put two pans of brownies in the freezer and found a place for the chicken and dressing in the fridge. This comes after a peach cobbler last week. Of course, mom can't eat any of this so that means I'm going to weigh a ton -- or two. And, by the way, all this except for the dressing was cooked by two 85-year-old women!"
I replied, "Baptist women -- we can't fix what ails you but we can certainly feed it."
Later, I had to laugh at my amusement-filled reply given that I did the exact thing when I was told at the AIDS hospice on Saturday morning that two of our residents were "actively dying." Knowing that translates into family members streaming in and out for their final goodbyes throughout the day, I inquired about the status of our freezer/fridge. We always have food at the house, but, many times, it's donated food and while quite filling and very appreciated, there's only so many ways you can make frozen chicken nuggets tasty.
My fellow volunteer and I found some ground beef (actually, we probably found a half a cow ground up in one-pound-packages of brick-like frozen tubes) and a few things for sandwiches. I asked if she would mind if I vacated the premises for a few minutes to take a drive to the store. She ushered me forth and soon I had all we needed for a large pot of soup with FRESH vegetables and aforementioned ground beef, cornbread and some tuna salad.
I left my four-hour stint knowing that the 30-year-old who had to sit up with almost 100% oxygen hitting him as he fought valiently to breathe while drowning in his own fluids and the 30-something-young woman who was so out of it she barely knew we had to give her a suppository to break her 103 degree fever would absolutely not care that their families had soup and sandwiches for later. But I knew. And as a Southern woman I had done the one thing I knew to do. Care for the living. Pray for the dying.