The struggle

I started my shift being informed that the man I waved goodbye 10 hours ago had passed away right before my shift started. A man who was terminally ill but yet so charismatic and positive. A man who yelled out to his almost-deaf-companion in the room “THAT GIRL, SHE IS SO KIND”. Being that girl he was talking of, gave me a warm feeling.

Right after those news, I felt how Death was lingering in the unit. There was an unsettling feeling that I couldn’t shake off. I told my colleague, this night won’t end well…

Let me tell you of a patient, beautiful and sheer, even though being 80 years old. This patient had been getting worse in such a fast pace, not keeping up with what it all meant. It meant that the patient was terminally ill, cancer, with no surgery possible or anything to stop the development of those monstrous cells… This patient of mine was so Beautiful, inside and out, and it was a pure suffering watching this patient living every minute until Death came that same night in denial. I said “my friend”, the patient said I was not a friend. I said “I need your arm to measure your blood pressure”, the patient replied with “I am already dying, what is the point”…

What is the point? Every minute passing by, was a minute of me holding back my disapproval of giving up life before Dying. But I couldn’t do more, I was not able to be more. This Beautiful patient of mine, passed away that very same night.

Going on through the very same night, my mental breakdown began to escalate slowly yet significantly. A woman I had been working, laughing with and talking to for weeks on end was being slowly pulled away from this world. She challenged me as a person and as a nurse with discussions and subjects that us in the healthcare are not allowed to question, but we did. Oh you bet, we did. I loved her personality, the way she saw life, her life philosophy. We made plans for her to come visit me once she’s out of the hospital feeling better. Her husband was a rock, her rock. I can not even begin to say how deeply hurt and affected I was with her passing away that very morning. I was hurt because the Healthcare is good, but that also has its end.

I was hurt because she stayed positive, to the very end even though her neck was slowly cracking due to the tumour that kept growing there. I was hurt because she never got to see my hair, as she had requested a few days back with a big smile on her face and a glow in her eyes. I was hurt because I actually, genuinely, was looking forward to dining out with her outside of these hospital walls. I was hurt because I kept thinking of her grownup children that looked up to her as a role model, that won’t be able to look her in the eyes anymore

I was hurt because I as the caregiver, cared for her. And I realized, I, we, as caregivers we care for everyone we take care of. We take them beautiful souls with us home.
And this is OK, I am OK. It’s a fantastic job, working with human beings whose lights are turned off in this world. And I get that honor to walk them those final steps in life. Yet very often I forget myself in the process…

To these souls, I pray you’ll find your peace in the afterlife.


Just a nurse trying to decipher life and all its content.

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