I can honestly say I didn’t know any nurses on a personal level until having to experience my mom in the hospital. I’ve had a front row seat in watching and admiring their craft. In honor of this week, I have written an open letter to all the nurses who have and continue to care for my mom.
Thank you for being by my mom’s side every single day and trying your very hardest in making her comfortable in any way you can. Thank you for putting your life on the line to provide exceptional care for our mom. I know it’s said to be “just part of your job,” but it’s a job not everyone is willing to fill.
Thank you for putting your life at risk to stand at her bedside while she was an extremely contagious patient for twelve hours at a time, sometimes even longer. We understand how tedious and difficult it is to put and take off full protective gear over and over again. We know how hot, sweaty and unbearable it gets. We watched as you patiently took care of my critically ill mom with continually changing needs. We can only imagine how much that hurts mentally, physically, and emotionally. But, because you are nurses, you deal with it with a smile on our face and carry on.
As nurses, you also took on another a task, not in your job description but one you took on with a whole heart, us the family. With just a look at any of us, you’d almost instantly ask what you could do to help. You helped try to cheer us up when we did not have the strength to do so, and you made us laugh so much that we often forgot about how weak and sad we felt.
You hugged and consoled us when we fell to pieces moments after my mom’s heart stopped and cried tears of joy as you helped bring her back alongside the doctors. Your tears were pure, filled with love and prayer for a family you did not know.
How can we thank you for the many times you would ask about mom’s life and the person she was, taking the time to look at her photos or hear the stories we would tell about her. Or when you offered a sympathetic shoulder and a compassionate hand every time bad news was delivered. The doctor would leave, and you were left behind to answer the lingering questions and explain why these things happen and watch as our world crumbled around us. You stayed, and you endured the confusion and tears and offered relief any way you could. Even if, realistically, you didn’t know what to do.
We can never thank you enough for the warm embraces. Your dedication never wavered no matter if your shift was up or it was a holiday. You didn’t go unnoticed that Christmas day you spent in a tiny ICU room alongside us instead of watching your babies open their presents. “A Christmas miracle” you proclaimed as we cried tears of joy in seeing my mom open her eyes for the first time in months.
You’re overlooked and under-appreciated yet necessary. You’re patient when it’s understandably impracticable to be, and you’re kind when it’s physically impossible to be. So, for all the moments we had with you where those two words were painfully inadequate yet unbelievably necessary. For the moments we as a family neglected in stressful situations and shoved them aside as fear took over and rarely voiced when they should have been…from the bottom of our hearts, Thank you.
Happy National Nurses Week!