by Neva Bodin
I had planned on having time to write my blog Friday evening, in the comfort of my turbulent looking office at home. However, a call Friday morning asking if I could “please” come to work for the night shift took precedence. The scheduled nurse was sick.
I work at a hospice, on a as-needed basis. I tried retirement once, for a whole year! I signed up for all the things I had tabled while employed full time as a nurse after the children were grown, and part-time during most of their growing up years. I failed at retirement.
I was busy…terribly busy with personal interests and volunteer projects. But, unfulfilled. I was born to be a nurse…probably until I can’t find my way to work anymore.
When people hear I work at a hospice, the usual comment is, “You have to be special to work there. That must be so hard.”
In response to the first comment, everyone I serve with my nursing skills, meaning my patients, their friends and family members, are far more special than I ever will be. I am only a fellow human, whom they have allowed to come alongside them in their last, very important journey in life. And I may be able to help them navigate those waters with my nursing skills, or with my people skills, and my caring about them and their families. They are my brothers and sisters.
Unless there is something going to happen that I don’t anticipate, everyone I know, will have this journey. There are many legends in many languages about death and the spiritual journey involved. All seem to involve some kind of decision or accounting or struggle to get to a place of eternal rest. Most of us don’t want to think about it until it is thrust upon us.
I have attended deaths in hospitals, nursing homes, private homes and hospices. The experience can be vastly different, depending on the setting. And I prefer being able to be part of the families, friends and patients who have invited hospice personnel to experience the journey with them. We have the resources and time to ease the angst and pain they may experience.
This is a somber subject for a blog. But if I could share the strength, character and courage I see every time I come to work, you would smile, and agree, we are resilient and courageous spirits who do face what we have to face, draw strength from others, and provide an example for those we come in contact with.
The human spirit is like a rubber band, it can stretch to encompass new ideas, new ways of doing things, and dealing with the journey of a lifetime. And because we touch each other’s lives in all that we do, we are all special.
And yes, sometimes it is sad, sometimes triumphant, and always emotional. But that’s life isn’t it?