Anna Tims

‘To my surprise, I found death in the abstract more frightening than death personified in individuals who can squeeze your hand and share a joke and who, while losing their life, radiate their humanity.

It takes a special grace to accept dependence. In the outside world, we feel humbled by the status and success of others. In a hospice, I’m humbled by figures in the beds, trustingly accepting the ministrations of a stranger and whispering, even when barely conscious, a thank you. Dignity is not what I thought it was. I was hot with embarrassment when I washed my first patient, until I saw she was smiling at me. In her acceptance, she had dignity. In my fumbling confusion, I did not.’ (from The Guardian)

The Zen Hospice building may have gone now, repainted and presumably sold to new owners – each time I pass I wonder if they know the building’s history – but the connection is not diminished. I know a number of people who have used their practice to help their work in this field.

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