The Things We Don’t Dare Say

I can’t tell you how many times you cross my mind during the day.

I can’t tell you how I worry about you and your family.

I can’t tell you the times I have left our visits with a smile only to turn the corner and allow the hot tears to pour down my cheeks.

I can’t tell you how I silently pray for wisdom to make the right decisions for your care.

I can’t tell you that once I have cared for you that you leave a tattoo on my heart forever

I can’t tell you how worry engulfs me when I have found out you have called after hours

I can’t tell you how I sometimes feel tongue tied and wish I could find the words that would calm the turbulence of your world.

I can’t tell you how I put such emphasis on each word I speak because I pray that I don’t say the wrong thing to hurt or upset you.

I can’t tell you how my heart breaks when you catch your reflection in a mirror and see how your once bursting with life body has betrayed you.

I can’t tell you that even though I have been a nurse for a good while, I still feel like I get the “WTF” look if tape sticks to my glove as I fasten your bandages.

I can’t tell you how much I cringe inside when someone says “I am in the medical field” as I am trying to care for you.

I can’t tell you how my mind goes into overdrive when I walk into a heightened situation. I try so hard to project an outer shell of calm, but, inside, no Richter scale could measure how I tremble.

I can’t tell you how I second guess my decisions. I play out the possibilities in my mind over and over.

I can’t tell you how special my visits become.

I can’t tell you how even when you are gone, I sometimes will drive by your house and say a soft prayer.

I can’t tell you how I want to sob with you when you tell me about how you worry for your loved ones in the future.

I can’t tell you how I wish I could be there forever for them also because I too was lucky enough to experience you.

I can’t tell you how desperately I want to be able to help you 24-7 and fret over the hours I cannot.

I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to build boundaries and to protect myself. I have to be in it 100% or not at all.

I can’t tell you how hard I fight for you with just about everyone… the doctor to get your meds, the pharmacy to cover them…

I can’t tell you how when your soft and weak hand grasps mine just how much of a gift you give me.

I can’t tell you that even though we are probably of different faiths, that my whispers to God are about you.

I can’t tell you how I pray I can control your pain.

I can’t tell you how sometimes, when the visits are intense, I have to stop at a store before I visit my next patient. How I need to lose myself in a crowd and mindlessly look at things in order to regain my composure and head towards the next visit – hopefully giving them all I have given you.

I can’t tell you how hearing your voice is like hearing the first song of a bird in spring.

I can’t tell you how I fret over your last moments… how badly I hope that they are free of fear, pain and worry.

I can’t tell you how the first moments after you pass the room will actually feel lighter and a palpable sense of calm will emanate from your body.

I can’t tell you how when I give you my final gift of care after you have passed, I will still talk with you as if you were still able to respond.

I can’t tell you how I will do everything to make sure your body is taken care of with the utmost of dignity and respect.

I can’t tell you how I can’t come to your memorial service because I know I will be overwhelmed with emotions.

Finally, I can’t tell you how honored I am to be part of your journey. Your journey is my journey. Through you, I find courage and strength.

There are so many things I can’t tell you but I have no doubt that with a look in my eyes, you see into my soul and any words I would say would do no justice to what you understand.

By Helen Haddick BSN RN CHPN

RN who has just left critical care in the hospital for hospice. Join me for my journey Please feel free to leave comments and like if you enjoy this

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