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.

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