Part of my hospital chaplaincy duties is to write a reflection on how it’s going. Identities and identifying factors are altered for privacy. All the writings are here.
“Are you Angela, the wife of Tyrone Simmons?”
“Yes,” she said, voice rising, searing through the phone in my ear. “Yes, chaplain, why?”
“I’m sorry to tell you this, but Tyrone is here at the hospital.”
I hate this part. He’s here at the hospital. I’ve made this call so many times. Are you able to be here? Will you be with anyone? Please drive safely.
Tyrone had been driving to work and he was struck by a truck driver. Most likely died instantly. He probably never knew.
I had found Angela’s number by going through her husband’s wallet. It’s a crazy thing, to look inside the wallet of a dead man. You learn a lot from a person’s valuables. With disposable gloves, I had laid out Tyrone’s belongings on a sheet of paper, each item caked in blood. It’s a clinical process. I feel terrible every time.
The phone number wasn’t written on anything: I had to play detective for a while. This is one of the chaplain’s tasks, to find next-of-kin, to look through every piece of the deceased’s belongings until we had a lead. I chase stories, and underneath them are more stories.