A patient I have visited over the past 10 months died today. He was young, he had a wife and teenage children. The first time I visited him he recited a poem to me (by heart) about the beauty in life and appreciating it. It was a first for me, and showed me what a special and sensitive person this was. When I saw his name in the obits, I did a double take, I had known how sick he was, how he hadn't responded to chemo, and yet I was still taken aback at seeing his name, at the reality of it -like a slap in the face.  It made me take pause, and think about my visits with him, and hope that in some way I had made some small difference in one of those days I had sat with him and talked about his illness, about how faith played a part in it, how he reconciled the two. People ask me how I can continue to visit people knowing sometimes the outcome will not be good, - but how can I not? When it is too hard to share thoughts with their family members, too scary, I am someone from the "outside" they can open up to. That alone is reason enough to keep going back. Did we share a laugh one of those days, did I open the window to let in some fresh air by allowing him to express his thoughts and feelings? I hope so. It is knowing that perhaps I did that allows me to continue going back week after week- to know that making a connection with someone is what life is all about.