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 long after your soul has been freed.
Each patient I am fortunate to meet leaves memories that become some of my dearest possessions. They are tattoos on my heart and blessings to my mind.
Did I do everything I needed to do? Did I medicate your pain? Did my words comfort you? Was I able to help your loved ones in those moments that would test the strength of Samson?
Even your passing doesn’t stop the thoughts of you. Like a trickling stream which every so often splashes over the banks, so do the stills dance in my mind.
The times you smiled so hard the joy radiated from your core. The times you cried and then I cried. You see, I cannot help but feel what you feel. Of course, what you feel is so profound that the crumbs that fall aside are the feelings I feel. Your tour guide, your hand holder on this great journey, our feelings bleed together.
It might be something simple, like the smell of coffee and visions of me bringing you coffee and donut holes make my heart happy and ache at the same time. You see, as hospice nurses, we take this journey with you. Like Magellan who traversed the unknown seas, so do we take part in this unique journey. Your journey is different than anyone else’s. Your journey is why I do what I do. Your journey is why I am lucky enough to never stop thinking of you.