Differences in the Family

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” 
are you not mere human beings? 
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul?
Only servants, through whom you came to believe ...
1 Corinthians 3:4-5     (New International Version)
She was just 59, with advanced kidney cancer, facing increasing pain and weakness. She had had strong connections with the local Methodist Church but after losing her husband three years earlier had found it difficult to retain those links. A year earlier she decided to move home in order to be nearer her daughter, married with a young family. Self-care was proving increasingly difficult; the daughter lived 25 miles away, so our patient was admitted to the hospice for symptom control and to provide psycho-social support.
Nursing staff had found her to be both anxious and withdrawn. She spoke often of the loss of her husband, her desire to be near her daughter, but not wanting to be ‘a nuisance’. She also expressed disappointment that her daughter had become ‘too charismatic’. This had brought estrangement. She declined the offer of a visit from the chaplain or the local Methodist minister.
Her condition deteriorated and it was clear she was dying. On the weekly ward round with the nurse I noticed a book with a dark cover and also a picture of Christ on the bedside locker.
‘That’s obviously a book of importance to you,’ I remarked, ‘and the picture too.’
‘Indeed,’ she replied weakly.
‘I gather you’ve not had much contact with your church recently.’ 
‘That’s true,’ was her reply. ‘It’s probably too late to set that right now, and …,’ after a pause, ‘Even my daughter's Christianity doesn’t suit me.’ 
‘Well the Christ of your church and hers is still with you,’ was my response.
All she could do was to smile faintly.
‘You’re not well, are you,’ I said. ‘I need to talk with your daughter. Is that okay?’
‘That’s fine,’ she replied.
We met with the daughter in private to apprise her of her mother’s deterioration. There were many questions but towards the end of the conversation she expressed the hope that there might be  some way of engaging with her mother on spiritual matters. 
‘You’re probably an atheist yourself,’ she said to me, ‘but you may be able to open up conversation in a way that I can’t.’ 
My response was immediate and clear: ‘Well actually I’m a believer myself. Let’s try.’
We returned to the bedside with an agreed plan.
I began: ‘We’ve been having a chat about you, about the future, about ourselves and even about faith. Your daughter would like to read a passage of scripture for you. How about that?’
‘Fine,’ she replied. 
We listened to the reading, the daughter concluding with the words: ‘May the Lord add his blessing.’ Her mother stretched out her hand. There were tears, but the silence remained unbroken until I said: ‘We’d better be on our way, but what about a prayer together first?’ She nodded her agreement, the daughter still holding her mother’s hand.
It was the briefest of prayers: ‘The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make his face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.’
We left mother and daughter together.