Sunday, April 3, 2011

It never gets easier.

For some reason this year I have had quite a few patients pass away. Working in the ICU you expect to see death but surprisingly enough it isn't extremely common. A lot of our nurses will make it through an entire year without having a patient die on them.... AND yet for some reason this year I have had my fair share of comfort care experiences.
Growing up I was always terrified of death... it would keep me up sometimes at night... my mind reeling from all of the awful things that could happen to me or a loved one.... all of the things I would miss in this life if I was to die young. I think if I worked with pediatrics my perspective on death would be much different... but I don't. I work with predominantly older adults and so death is a natural part of the life process. 
This week I have seen another side of death though.... a member in Chris' family passed away a few days ago and it was incredibly sad to be on the other side of things this time. Even though I didn't know him... it was so different seeing the effect of it all. The vigil at his bedside. The smile he gave when he saw the little ones wave to him. The tears and stories and heart felt questions.... "Why now?" 
It reminded me of my first death in the ICU. I cried the entire way home listening to the Death Cab for Cutie song "What Sarah Said" ..... The lyrics "love is watching someone die" ringing in my ears... and I just couldn't get over it.... this person had a life.... a family... memories... a legacy left behind and now... well now they're gone... just like that. 
I know that he is undoubtetdly in a better place... a place where cancer does not exist and pain has no hold. I have been praying for the H. family this week and today as they say their final goodbyes as well. I hope they feel the love that I see and feel in their family. It is a gift to have so many people surround you as you leave this world and it is so very clear that even if Uncle M. is not here anymore... his love and legacy still remain in the people he has left behind.


  1. Thank you.

    ~ Rick H. (Chris' dad)

  2. it's sort of surprising that it really doesn't get easier- and i do palliative care! but- when you allow yourself to feel even a little bit- to "go" there- it hurts- the same way each time a baby is born i cry too- it's the beauty of life or souls entering and exiting. we can't deny the 'otherness' of the world- the passage. thanks

  3. I've heard you should never get toughened to it.

    I've heard others say they do. I don't want those types taking care of me or mine!