Knocking On The Door

“Helen, does she know I am here? Can she hear me?” Questions like this abound when a loved one is close to crossing the vast divide. Tasking me, a simple hospice nurse with providing the answer to such a profound question, is something that always shakes me to my core. You see, the truth is,… Continue reading Knocking On The Door

The Slow Burn

If I had a dollar for a every time someone said something along the lines of “I don’t know how you can do what you do”, I would have a serious pile of cash. Seriously, the truth is some days, I don’t know how I do what I do. It is physically, mentally and emotionally… Continue reading The Slow Burn

Disappear

“I just don’t understand why! It’s like I have been abandoned. Like me dying has made all the people who said they loved me turn their backs on me. I am not a leper. I am still here” Heartbreakingly true words that are more commonly spoken by hospice patients than anyone realizes. A patient and… Continue reading Disappear

The Whispers

I’ve gotten kind of used to it. Sometimes, when I enter a patient’s room, I notice some family members turn and whisper. It’s almost like when I tell people what I am lucky enough to do and they give me the heartbreaking face while lowering their voice to a whisper. Maybe it is because of… Continue reading The Whispers

All The Time

Leave it at the door Don’t bring your work home with you That might work for a garbage man or maybe a tree cutter, but those rules don’t apply to a hospice nurse. I am probably thinking about you from the moment I shut your door behind me. I am probably still thinking of you… Continue reading All The Time

Thank You

It’s a little chilly in your bathroom, but, you are sweating and have the fan strategically blowing in your face. Your color is pale, almost like a pre tanned vacation photo except you have look that alerts others you aren’t well. Eyes are sunken, the brightness that once was there is no more. The dark… Continue reading Thank You

Rituals

People often ask often how I cope with seeing so much death… After all, the purpose of my job is to prepare people so that they have a peaceful and pain free passage.  For the vast majority of the patients, death is almost a welcomed event.  While leaving loved ones behind is not always the… Continue reading Rituals

Week Two or Weak, Too?

I have to admit that I was super apprehensive about making this career change.  Death is something that scares the bejeezus out of me.  As a critical care nurse for many years, death was often times an answer to endless suffering.  That doesn’t ever mean that I got comfortable with it.  But, because I never… Continue reading Week Two or Weak, Too?