The Headless Way
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Some years ago I had a colleague at work whom I reckon was a saint, in a quiet unobtrusive sort of way. She used to visit a hospice, and one day I suddenly thought "I'd like to be like that" and asked her to take me with her next time. We went on the Saturday afternoon; she took cups of tea round, making jokes with all the patients and I trailed round after, feeling awkward. We came to a bed with an old man in it, white as a sheet and very frail. They were chatting, and he started talking about Cornwall and gardens. Slowly the conversation began to sound familiar and a name swam into my (very poor) memory: "Are you Redvers Williams?" I asked him. He said he was. He'd been the secretary of a Quaker Meeting I'd attended a few times. His ministry was always a joy to listen to, although he was rather put upon by the old dragon who owned the premises. Apparently he'd been suddenly taken ill and then moved from hospital to hospice without any of the members being aware of it, so no-one had visited him or got in touch. "I've been praying someone would come along before I die," he said. I passed on the news, people came, and within a week he was gone. I never did any more hospice visiting. Everything is a mystery isn't it? J.B. UK

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