Respite – Day 3

11/06/17 08:30

“She just passed.”

What do you say? What do you say to the family who just lost their 32 year old daughter, sister, mother, and wife?

For someone who works in words, I don’t know what to say. I never quite do, because I am feeling so much more than a simple, “I’m sorry,” can ever convey.

The moment I heard my name called to room 104 over the radio. I strolled in casually. “He’s gone,” the nurse informs quietly. His wife lets out a sob and falls into my arms. They had waited for me. My resident had passed, and the first thing his wife had said was, “Where’s Rose?” I didn’t know what to say. Simply stood there holding her as she sobbed.

The morning is fractured, with tears and fatigue, and eventually some confusion. Everyone says their final goodbyes then retreats to their respective beds. Perhaps they’ll sleep. Perhaps they’ll dream. Perhaps they won’t see her in their dreams.

And when they wake, we gather for dinner. “A celebration of life gathering,” I clarify, when asked what the party was for. And for the time, we reminisce, and smile, and even laugh. People brought together under unfortunate circumstances, but for the better. She brought us all together, from the far corners of the states.

I held her as she sobbed, taking comfort in my presence. I had made a difference in her husband’s life. A man who once was against females taking care of him, eventually prefering my care over anyone elses. I didn’t need to say anything in this moment. I was simply there for her, the way I’d been there for her husband, to the end.

The evening is bittersweet, with blissful laughter and emotional fatigue, and eventually some confusion. Everyone says their final goodbyes then retreats to their respective beds. Perhaps they’ll sleep. Perhaps they’ll dream. Perhaps they’ll see her smiling in their dreams.

I give the family who just celebrated the life of their 32 year old daughter, sister, mother, and wife, a hug, and I tell them, “good night.”

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