Solemn moments

January 1, 2022 - 12:00am -- Living City

Solemn moments  

Going beyond the usual, a hotel worker loves a guest until the end

By Robert Jervis

I work in a hotel where I see close to 35 people on a daily basis. The quality of service that I provide these guests directly impacts my income.

One day my supervisor advised me that a guest named Anna would be arriving, and that she had specifically requested that I assist her since I had served her before.

However, this time Anna was ill with emphysema, and she was dependent on oxygen to aid her breathing. When she arrived, I noticed her condition, and immediately discovered in her the presence of the suffering Jesus on the cross. I located a wheelchair for her, since she was moving very slowly and had difficulty breathing. 

Since she needed special attention, this clearly meant I would not be able to attend to my usual 35 people during her stay. Loving Jesus by serving her was going to be my will of God. 

I felt in my heart that there was a special presence of Jesus in her and I would have to dedicate more attention than usual. I had to make her feel at home by making sure she had everything she needed. Before I left her for the day, she asked me if I could come back the next day to take her for a walk. 

I arrived to pick her up, and she was ready to go. She was so happy to go out, even though her breathing was labored. She asked me to take her around the hallways of the hotel, which turned out to be so much fun for her. I tried to rejoice with her and enjoy the bustle around us. 

After a short while, she asked me to take her to one of the hotel restaurants to have lunch. An hour and a half later I returned and walked with her back to her room so she could rest.

We agreed to go to the beach the next day, because she wanted to soak her feet by the seashore. I made all the arrangements to get her there, which included reserving a special chair and transportation. 

It turned out that our plans and reservations had to be altered, since she wasn’t feeling well in the morning. But in the afternoon, she was energetic and eager to venture to the sea.  She was a great conversationalist and shared so many stories about her family and the life she had led in in her homeland of Cuba. 

The afternoon was sunny and hot. We reached a point where I needed to transfer her from the normal wheelchair to the higher beach chair version. We made it, but with difficulty; she felt tired, weak, and short of breath. The heat was very intense, but her straw hat provided some respite from the sun and she was hooked up to a little oxygen tank. 

I pushed her on the beach chair along the sand all the way to the shore. When we got there, she felt so weak that she didn’t have the strength to stand up, so she decided to contemplate the sea from her chair. 

The sun through the crystal-clear water created glittering stars, and the waves were breaking so softly onto the shore. The sand was white. There was peace. The breeze was refreshing. It seemed that love was manifesting itself in the beauty of nature. 

We headed back to the hotel with that vivid sensation in our hearts. When I took Anna back to her room, she was so appreciative and thankful. I realized that I had gone beyond our scheduled time without noticing. We had lived the present moment with solemnity. We said goodbye until the next day, when we agreed to see each other again. 

The following morning, before I left for work, my supervisor called me and told me that Anna had passed away in her room. I was in shock. 

But I gave thanks to God for the opportunity to give Anna those last happy moments, living the will of God with solemnity and joy together.