Senior Report: Life's last journey

November 13, 2006
By Flora Roberts & Theresa Schmidt

For those diagnosed with a terminal illness, dying becomes a very personal experience. "God's in charge of my time clock," explains Nathan Bray.  "When he's ready I'm ready and I kind of wish sometimes that he'd hurry it up."

Nathan Bray looks almost serene as he visits with us while resting in bed at his home in Lake Charles.  Bray is on a journey all will one day make. "I know who my maker is and I have a much better place to go than a lot of people."

His body is no longer able to tolerate the treatment for leukemia. "I've taken all the medicine my body will stand."  For Nathan, knowing ahead of time allows him to plan and appreciate. Our conversation has its light moments.  Nathan laughs easily and cries easily because he knows he will miss his family. His wife Gloria is always close. "My wife is my best friend," says Nathan. "She is truly my best friend."  He nods toward the hospice nurse, Sherry Haley.  "There's another friend standing right over there too. Thank you. I love you. I appreciate you."

Hospice end of life care allows death with dignity and according to an individuals wishes. Sherry, with Odyssey Health Care, admits providing hospice care for those who are dying is more a ministry than a job.  "It allows them to have a say on how they're going to be cared for. It allows the patient to be in control of his life until the very end and it also allows their family to be supported."

As the journey progresses, Nathan finds comfort in a loving family, caregivers and his faith. "The best that I could wish and hope for anybody is to have that quiet calm assurances that yes, I know Jesus Christ, he is my Lord and Savior. I where I am going. I know where I'm going to spend eternity."

Nathan hopes sharing his very personal experience will help guide others. For more information on hospice, call Odyssey Health Care at 433-9449.