Very sadly, a family friend died the other day after a long illness. There was so much gratitude, though, for the care and support of St Joseph's Hospice in Hackney - for giving care with kindness, effort and dignity. I remember, when my sister died, the dedication and flexibility of the Macmillan nurses. Where the hospital nurses had forgotten things, and been so rushed they could hardly cope, the Macmillan nurses took time to make sure that all the family were treated with great respect.
Maybe we could all ask ourselves whether we are like a hospital or a hospice. Perhaps, like some hospitals, we are busy, at the limit, worried, defensive and urgent, fighting battles, pushing people around.
But perhaps we could take the time to be more like a hospice, trying to take care of each other with dignity and respect, listening to each other's needs, and making sure we respect each other's right to a life free from fear and pain, and full of dignity. It's only a short life really. And what does it cost to be kind? A little time, a little less urgency, and a generosity of spirit. Those extra things make life worth it, feed the soul, and give hope.