Meet Heather Macleod: It’s Spiritual Care WeekPublished on: 25/10/2022
Heather Macleod really is a great person to speak to. As a minister of the United Reformed Church (URC) for many years, Heather’s deep faith underpins her vocation to bring spiritual support to all of our patients and their families, regardless of background, ethnicity, gender or whether they have their own faith or none.
Her mum, Margaret, was a lady of strong faith and Heather remembers being taken to Sunday School from around the age of three. She began to enjoy the lessons and stories and, by her late teens, Heather was put in charge of Sunday School and the midweek Youth Club in her local church, St Paul’s, “mainly because I’m not very good at saying no!” she
In the mid-nineties the hospice advertised to the local churches to see if there was anyone who would be interested in becoming the hospice chaplain. Heather applied and to her great surprise, following what she describes as “an excruciating interview” (only for her), she was duly appointed to the role.
Ever since, she has set about her task with relish, striving to understand in each person’s case what can help to bring them peace of mind.
This is not always about religion as sometimes people find the spiritual meaning of life in nature, art, sport or music.
Sometimes people just like to chat to Heather in private or with their families around, reminiscing about happy and sad experiences and their hopes for the future.
For those who share her Christian faith, Heather is happy to pray with folk and give them communion. For Catholics, or others who need their own priest, pastor or faith leader she will arrange for the relevant person to come and see them.
Two spiritual assistants come in one day a week to visit inpatients and Wellbeing Centre patients. Sister Catherine and Julie Rigby are an important part of the team and Heather is very grateful for their ongoing dedication and support.
Integral in organising remembrance services via a video link during COVID for bereaved relatives and friends, Heather has also been asked on many occasions to conduct funerals, often for people who had never met her before their time in our care.
Being naturally open and honest Heather can talk about her own experience of having breast cancer, resulting in a full mastectomy along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in 2011.
My faith, the support of my family and my church family meant that I felt at peace throughout the whole experience. It has also given me a deeper understanding of what our patients and their
families may have been through.
Eleven years on Heather is fit and well, enjoying her second stint as spiritual co-ordinator.
Her other great joy nowadays is granddaughter Izzie, “twelve going on 20” Heather beams. “She’s the light of
our lives, a joy and a delight.”
A light that clearly shines. Just like you Heather, just like you!
Spiritual Care Week is 23-29 October 2022. More Information can be found at www.spiritualcareweek.org