Actually, most of the people I see in a day's work at the hospital are far from dying. Many are getting well. But an important part of what a chaplain does is be with someone who is dying, and with their family members keeping vigil. It's something I did not get to do with my own parents, or with any of the people I love who have died, except for my Grandma Mary. Going to see her a day or two before she died, on a dark January evening in 1971, I didn't know what to expect. She wasn't alert. She didn't move or make a sound. But the nurse who stayed with her (at her home) told me to told her hand, and to talk to her. "I know she can hear you," she said. "She knows you are here." That was all I needed. I'm still so grateful for that nurse and what she taught me.