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Caring Caddy to a Dying Golfer
By Lisa Newby - July 21, 2009

I was on a Southwest flight to Chicago last September, and as usual, there was no assigned seating. I ended up sitting next to a man who looked about 60. He said he was going to Akron for his wake.

I'm not one to be easily shocked, but I'll admit this caught me off guard. He then told me that he had been diagnosed in August with terminal liver cancer and was a patient of San Diego Hospice. This seemed ironic as I had worked for San Diego Hospice for five years as a nurse. We continued to talk about his plans in Akron, discussing what he would do there and the old friends he would visit. When he mentioned he was taking his golf clubs I asked where he played in San Diego. Oddly enough, he had never played golf in San Diego. "Funny!" I responded, "I'm the ministry leader of the golf ministry at the Rock Church."

Inevitably our conversation turned to faith, as those facing death are concerned with what happens after they die. I wondered if he knew Jesus and how what he was going through affected him. He told me he had always believed that there were life forces in the universe that created us, but that he did not follow any one religion. He was neither receptive or resistant to my speaking of Jesus.I got his phone number, as he was open to golfing with the ministry, and was concerned about his girlfriend after he died.

After we got back from our respective trips, I called him and invited him to play golf and attend the Rock Church with me.

After we got back from our respective trips, I called him and invited him to play golf and attend the Rock Church with me.  He came out three times with the ministry but never made it to church. His health began to decline, and he was unable to attend the ministry's last golf outing of the year.

I visited him a few times at his home after that, and I prayed with him each time. Others in the ministry also prayed, called and visited. On one of the last visits, I prayed for him and wished that he would come to know the Lord before his passing. At the end of my prayer, I prayed he would see the Lord face to face, and he whispered, "I hope so."

My friend died peacefully at home on the morning of December 28, a Sunday. To those who prayed, called, and visited, I thank you. I visited and prayed with him several times and I honestly do not know if he knew the Lord at the time of his passing. But on the day before he died I was told he shakily stood up and said "I am going home."

I hope that when the time comes where when it is my turn to go home I will see him again.

Jason Puterbaugh wrote this story, as told to him by Lisa.

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