My favorite spot in Christ House is probably the second floor sunroom. Each day in between the rush of treatments, I try to carve out a moment of time to sit at the end of the hall and check my newspaper horoscope, read the Metro section, and spend quality time with patients.
Lately I have been joined by one individual in particular – Mr. Wyatt. We sit across from each other in the comfy sunroom chairs and look out at the crisp fall day. He’s not much of a talker, but after a few moments he asks his signature question: “You all right?” Every time I see Mr. Wyatt, he makes sure to check in this way. Even when he seems preoccupied and anxious, he asks to see how I’m doing.
Mr. Wyatt’s question reminds me of when we first met, a couple weeks back. It had been an especially hectic day on the second floor, with a long list of treatments to complete and three new admissions, of which Mr. Wyatt was the third. I had been running around all morning, and when I went to meet Mr. Wyatt, it was nearing the end of a long day. As I sat down with him to complete his admission, I paused to ask, “How are you?”
Mr. Wyatt’s response to my standard, and admittedly rushed, question caught me off-guard: He started crying and began to tell me about his daughter, who had recently passed away. In that moment I paused everything we were doing in order to be fully present. Although I felt unprepared to respond to Mr. Wyatt’s deep grief and pain, I knew I could offer a thoughtful listening ear.
Before arriving at Christ House, Mr. Wyatt had been living in a storage unit and recovering from surgery. When he came for admission that afternoon, he hadn’t eaten all day. Throughout his admission, Mr. Wyatt and I talked about his living situation and his daughter, who he hadn’t been able to see before she fell sick and passed. He expressed a great gratitude for being at Christ House, and I felt so thankful that he was here.
Each interaction I have with Mr. Wyatt reminds me of the importance of being fully there for one another. Of pausing to check in and genuinely ask, and genuinely answer, the simple question of “You all right?” Every day at Christ House I feel lucky to be a part of a community that truly cares about each individual who walks through the door. Whenever I come into work, no matter what the day holds, I look forward to these special moments of understanding and connection.
Interested in becoming a Year Long Volunteer (YLV)? Our 2021-2022 YLV application opens Monday, October 26th.