On Saturday, just before midnight, I had the radio on. I heard an interview with a man whose 12-year-old boy was killed in the Warrington bombings. Whether it’s been 2 years or 20, talking about your son’s death must be an ordeal and he handled it so well; I’m sure I wasn’t the only one touched by it, but one thing I noticed that wasn’t commented on was the role of hospital chaplaincy.
He spoke of the surgeon who told them: “Your son may not survive the night. Now if you’ll excuse me …” and left them alone in the room. Then the next day, after the chaplain gave them coffee and biscuits, he went to see Tim. The contrast really hit me: A surgeon – so busy with other duties that he didn’t have time to talk, and a chaplain – prepared to have coffee with the parents of a wounded child, and come alongside them in their grief.
The NHS talk about cutting hospital chaplains, but this to me is proof that they shouldn’t. I’m thankful for the way the hospital chaplain and his team helped one of my friends when she was in hospital back last year, and I’m sure that patients and their relatives need the emotional and spiritual support as much as the medical care.