The truth is I didn't want to visit this person. Her husband was a hospice patient and had died months before. While I had visited several times, providing a quiet presence and trying to comfort, I was weary of the depression, her inconsolable tears.
“You need to visit her,” the Voice whispered.
“I know, I know and I will. Not today, I have tons of paperwork and a new patient to assess.”
The next day, the Voice urged again, “You need to visit her."
“Yes, but my kids want to go to the pool. I need to get home early. I’ll go on Friday.”
The Voice was silent.
I called her on Friday morning but she didn’t answer. Relief, I’m off the hook.
A few hours later I received the call telling me she had died the night before, in her home, alone. Tears of regret, self-loathing and remorse erupted. Guilt rose from the pit of my stomach. The Voice was silent. Guilt tightened its grip, I cried out to the Voice to assuage my pain, to ease my conscience. The Voice was silent. Guilt smothered me.
Co-workers offered reassurance, “If you were supposed to have visited, you would have, God was in control.” The words fell on deaf ears as hot tears continued to fall. I was inconsolable. I could have seen her one last time. More importantly, I could have the confidence of knowing I listened to the Voice. I knew I had failed. I hushed a Voice that I should have heeded.
Now, a week later, I am released from my guilt. The Voice has finally spoken. He gave me the image of my patient and his wife dancing in each other’s arms. She looked over her shoulder at me and grinned. I knew what she was thinking. She couldn’t care less if she saw me one last time. She knows it wouldn't have changed her fate. It has, however, changed mine. Next time, I will refuse to mute the Voice. I will listen. I will obey.