"When I walked into Emma's room and introduced myself, she said, "I don't need any missionaries. You're wasting your time."...
Each time I came to see her, Emma had more questions. I went from visiting once a week to two or three times. I'd been told she had only a couple of months to live, but she continued to be my patient for more than a year. She told me that she'd been a court reporter all her life, had never married or had children, and had many regrets about friends she'd dropped along the way because she was 'too busy.'
One day Emma asked, 'So, where are you going after you leave here?'
I sighed, 'To the grocery store. I absolutely hate grocery shopping!' I've been doing it for forty years, and I'm so tired of it.'
Emma looked out the window. 'Oh, I'd give anything to be able to get out of this bed, put on real clothes, make a list of what I want to eat, walk out that door, and drive to the store.' She described how she'd pick whatever she wanted and go home and cook it herself and maybe invite a friend over to dinner. Listening to her made me aware of how much I took for granted.
When I returned a few days later, Emma's bed was empty. A staff member told me she'd died just hours earlier.
Grocery shopping has never been the same."
L. D. "Readers Write" about Paying Attention, in The Sun Magazine