Thursday, February 17, 2011

why slow trains are problematic

Remember when I said sometimes I'm not funny? Yeah. This is one of those times.

Soooo, I was in my car yesterday afternoon, for the 17th time, going to get The 15 Year Old, stuck behind the slowest train in the history of trains. And I was feeling pitiful because the afternoon wasn't going like I planned. The Man was gone. I still had to cook dinner. I didn't know what was for dinner. I was tired because I never sleep. Ever. I had ten sewing projects I couldn't get to because the baby was crying. Like constantly. I had poop on my pants (the baby's not mine). I was having a bad hair day. Pitiful. Anyway... I was reading twitter while I waited. It seems a friend of some of my tweeps (not a friend of mine) had lost her battle with breast cancer. Pause to digest that. She was young. Really young. Pause again. Anyway. The tweet linked her blog and something her husband wrote the other day as she was about to leave this life. You can read it here (tissue warning given). Like I said, I don't know Sarah but I felt compelled to read the blog while I waited for another 10 minutes. Dang slow train.

Then the tears started to come.

Welled up.

Then dripping.

Then streaming.

Down my face. Onto my shirt. Onto my pants.

I was trying hard to not look like I was crying because I had three kids in the car who would certainly be wondering why mom is crying over a long train.

Oh the tears.

And then I felt it, the stinging pain my my chest. The heartache for Sarah and her family. And the memory of sharing those last moments with people.

And I realized something.

I miss my job.

Oh I don't miss getting up early (I already get up early enough). I don't miss driving all over the county all day. I don't miss meetings or bureaucracy. I don't miss skipping lunch or holding my pee all day. I don't miss searching all over creation for a public restroom or getting lost in scary neighborhoods. I don't miss being on call and having to go pronounce a death at 3 am or the tears I shed so many times on the shoulders of my husband or on my pillow in the dark. I don't miss the pervading fear that something as horrible as the things I saw would happen to someone I love. I don't miss the hysteria of the grief stricken, clinging to me or chasing the mortuary van (true story) or the chihuahuas that appeared like sneaky ratty monsters from under beds to attack my feet (also true story). I don't miss missing my kids activities or worrying about who is picking who up or worrying about who is cooking dinner. I don't miss worrying about what I'm going to wear. I don't miss poop very much.

But I do miss my job.

I miss holding the hands of the ill and dying. I miss helping people be free of pain and suffering. I miss the crying husbands and wives and sons and daughters who so desperately needed to be heard and held. I miss the children who ask me wide eyed to explain why the person they love is dying. I miss people baking me things and trying to give me chickens to thank me for my care. I miss the hugs. I miss watching the peaceful transition from this life, an end to suffering. I miss feeling like I was doing something for people who truly genuinely needed it. I miss it. I miss it all.

I loved Hospice care. I don't talk much about it because I feel a reverence for death that I don't think should always be publicly shared (also because of HIPPA and my deep desire not to be sued), but I can't help myself today.

I believe in a few things in this world to be true.

1. Love is more important than anything. Any. Thing.
2. As long as you're provided for, money means very little.
3. People are more important than stuff.
4. Birth is best left alone.
5. Death is best left alone.

I knew those things before I became a Hospice Nurse. But Hospice taught me those things in a whole new way.

I felt the fragility of life so profoundly.

I'd spend hours on the phone while I drove from place to place talking to the Man and crying. Him telling me I was doing good work and that he'd be there for me when I got home. And there he would be. Arms open. Kleenex at the ready. Words of comfort and encouraging. Him telling me I was his hero. And the children. How precious they appear in light of such suffering.

At the end of my day I'd hug everyone a little tighter.

As a midwife to the soul I watched a young man with a crippling disease go from strong and strapping to withered and weak. I watched his wife and children watch this happen. I watched him die. I cried with them. For them. His wife told me I must certainly have angels wings under my sweater. She told me they were blessed to know me and to have me care for him. And them.

It was I who was blessed. So very deeply blessed.

Serious session ceasing. Thanks for hanging in there.


Now go hug your people y'all. Tight.

j

4 comments:

Lizzie said...

Midwife to the soul-I love that. You have a gift. You don't have to be "working" to share it. From the moment you and Matt birthed your marriage and your family-you all became midwife to eachothers souls.
From Love comes love.

Joni said...

:) That is all.

Stef said...

Tears, Joni, lots of tears. (And I'm on a conference call - eek.) You have a warm soul. My heart bleeds for Sarah and her family. There is nothing more heart-wrenching than raw grief. This is a hard time of year - I'll post about that soon. I think. Thank you for your words. ((hugs))

The Great Quiram Adventure said...

well this is definitely my hard time of the year...I dread and mourn January 31 and March 3 every year. Being consumed with such grief is so hard on me. Your strength and ability to find ways to comfort the souls of everyone you touched is so amazing. You truly have a gift. I am so happy you always find a way to connect us to the greater good.

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