Personal grief drives chaplain to help others

Hospital chaplain Sheldrin D’Rozario.
Hospital chaplain Sheldrin D’Rozario.

Osborne Park Hospital chaplain Sheldrin D’Rozario said despite a decline in people belonging to religious denominations, there was a need for hospitals to provide more than just medical care.

Mr D’Rozario, who also works at King Edward Hospital, said a chaplain provided support to patients and their families in their greatest time of need.

He said helping people gave him the personal fulfilment he had been looking for after he himself lost a loved one.

‘October 2 was the 27th anniversary of my brother dying in my arms from asthma ” I was 16 and he was 15,’ Mr D’Rozario said.

‘I didn’t know it then that that would be a marker in my life, a fork in the road that was going to take me on a different pathway from a businessman to a chaplain.’

The father-of-two said the task of supporting people at their most vulnerable was often a challenge, especially when dealing with death.

‘The most difficult time I have experienced as a chaplain was working at Princess Margaret Hospital with sick children and seeing some of them die,’ he said.

‘For a bereaved family that has lost a baby, this is a loss of a future, so the hopes and dreams held for that child, all these things they were hoping to do together, have gone.

‘My role is to provide those families with space and comfort and to work with them so when they go back home they’ve got that necessary emotional, spiritual and practical support.’

Mr D’Rozario said a lot of his work involved building a rapport and establishing trust with patients and their families.

‘When I tend to someone who has had the opportunity to talk about their life story, they then often die very peacefully, particularly if there’s been a lot of resolution along the way with some of their greatest needs,’ he said.

‘Those particular people tend to die very peacefully, as opposed to someone who flat-out doesn’t want to talk to you, doesn’t want to talk to their family, and you’ll see that particular person agitated right to the end and fighting something.’