She was almost uncomfortable when I said “Thank you for all you did for Bruce.” She could barely look up with those beautiful blue eyes and wonderful smile. She would greet Bruce that way, when he came for his chemo, now it didn’t seem like the proper response.
I was, just a friend, who had come to tell her how appreciative I was, not just for her skills as a talented oncology nurse but for her human qualities she would express each time he walked into that infusion room. She made his visits to the cancer center less stressful. She became a new friend in Bruce’s last chapter of life.
Her first question to me was “How is Lisa?” How typical is that? Nurses seldom think of themselves. They worry about their patients and they worry about their patients loved ones. But who helps them when a patient, who has been a constant visitor for over a year in this case, suddenly dies? I know she felt the loss.
We all know how unfair cancer deaths are….a life cut short by such an ugly disease….but these nurses live this every day. They know that so many of their patients will eventually die. Shouldering these deaths must be unbearable. Who will help them mourn the loss? I know their fellow nurses are at the ready with an instant supporting wall when necessary, but it’s important that we remember them too.
We all feel loss differently, but we all feel loss. Don’t forget our nurses, they were there for us in our toughest hours.