Author and Sports Writer, Mitch Albom, has made a career of writing about the end of life by asking his fictional and non-fictional characters the big questions about life, religion, happiness, sadness, regret, effort, and responsibility. Albom’s newest book Have a Little Faith: A True Story is the story of what Albom does when his Rabbi, since childhood, asks him to prepare and deliver his eulogy. Through a series of meetings over several years Mitch and the Rabbi explore the important events of the Rabbi’s life and the knowledge and convictions from that life. Albom also tells the parallel story of an inner city criminal that transforms his life to minister a destitute church in Detroit. Along the way Albom examines his own relationship with faith, redemption, and his impoverished neighbors.
Conversations about Life, Love, and Happiness
EMS professionals, like Albom, have opportunities for intimate conversations with people at or near the end of life. Usually the most difficult aspect is summoning the courage to ask questions like:
- What are you proud of?
- Do you have any regrets?
- What comes after death?
- What has helped you in life?
- What has hurt you?
- Who do you miss?
- Who has helped you?
- Who have you helped?
The characters in Albom’s books are not world leaders, celebrities, or professional athletes. Instead they are regular people – a college professor, a theme park maintenance man, a Rabbi, and a Minister – that just found their purpose in life and pursued that purpose passionately.
Ask the Big Questions
With a bit of confidence you can ask patients questions about life and living that will add great value to your EMS career. Next time you find yourself with a few minutes during transport ask your patient a question about life. You will probably be surprised and enriched by the answers.