Today’s sermon

My stepfather is dying. He’s on his third round of cancer. I can’t believe he even beat it the first two times, which is a testament to his tough, stubborn, ornery character.

I can’t say I’m particularly close to him. I like him enough, but he’s introverted and suffers from depression. He’s a Vietnam veteran, and  I can’t even begin to imagine what he’s been through…what type of things have formed his personality and views on life. I can say, without a doubt…he loves my mother. He moved her here around 8 years ago, or so. He knew he wouldn’t last forever, and wanted her to be around her kids so she wouldn’t have to be alone and struggling. He’s lasted longer than he thought he would, so has kind of just been existing here, blending into the scenery.

He fell around 6 weeks ago, and due to the metastatic tumor in his hip, shattered his pelvis. He’s been home on hospice, in a hospital bed, ever since. My mom is exhausted. She’s his 24 hour caregiver, other than the daily hospice aide who bathes him. I try to talk her into hiring help to give her a break, but she’s devoted. All these years of them being married, and I never noticed the love. I see it now, so clearly. Like a veil has been lifted. I think my vision was blurred because of the resentment I’d held on to, regarding me and my mom’s history. We’ve grown so close during these last 6 weeks, and I’m seeing her from a different perspective now. I am finally at peace with her.

This morning, just as I’m pulling in to church, my mom calls asking for my help. My stepfather wanted to get out of bed and she needed help getting him back in, as his hospice aide couldn’t stay. (He requires a hoyer lift). She didn’t want to tell him he couldn’t get up, as he hasn’t been able to tolerate it lately. I was really looking forward to church today. I had a feeling it was going to be a good sermon. Of course, I was happy to turn around and miss it. He’s getting so close, I’m not sure how many more chances he’ll have to sit in the sun with my mom.

I arrive, and he’s sipping coffee and eating cheese. It’s beautiful out, and the warm sun is shining on him as he looks at his garden. I haven’t seen him out of his hospital bed in over a month. I say to him, “Well, well, well. Look at what we’ve got here”, smiling.  He calmly states, “What can I say? When you’ve got it, you’ve got it…and I’ve got it”. His voice is nothing but a gravelly whisper, but yeah…he’s still got it. We sit for around 45 minutes…a good 30 minutes longer than he’s ever tolerated being in the chair for, ever since this whole hospice thing started. My mom asks him how he’s doing, sitting up for so long,  as her sole purpose in life right now is to make him comfortable. In his classic Vietnam vet style, he mutters, “tough as nails”. We then carried him back to bed.

I didn’t miss today’s sermon, after all…

 

 

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Better than the yard

I love the scattered pre-season warm days here on Cape Cod. Just when you think winter may never end, you get blessed with a gem of a day. We had a few this weekend, and I never take them for granted. Neither does my dog… a day at the beach beats a day in the yard, for sure!

I love living here…

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Apr. 29/17

 

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J spells my name

Last month, I took a girls weekend to Connecticut. We specifically went to go on a river cruise to look at American Bald Eagles (which was SPECTACULAR, by the way) and ended up hiking through a couple of really cool state parks. It was dinnertime by the time we headed back to Massachusetts, so we made a spur of the moment detour into Mystic for some pizza. You know, “Mystic Pizza”…the Julia Roberts breakout film…

Mystic is a pretty cool town. It’s quaint, on the water, with a charming main street filled with various shops and eateries. Everything was named “Mystic” something or other. Mystic Pizza, Mystic Army Navy, Mystic Florist . As we neared the public parking lot, I noticed “Mystic Psychic”.  It was an unassuming little sign, tucked in between the touristy shops and bars. I normally wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in psychics and mediums and the like, but one called “Mystic Psychic” just sounds gimmicky, right? Well, after about 10 seconds, I just knew I was going in there. It was so weird…I had no idea we were even going to Mystic, and once we decided to go, all we had planned was pizza and maybe stopping in a few of the shops. I just could not shake the feeling of having to go in there. We parked the car and I told my girlfriends, “I have to go to that psychic”.  We rounded the corner and came upon the cutest store filled with unique trinkets and handmade items…totally up my alley. As we looked around the store, I realized it was time to go. “I’m going to that psychic now”, I told them. I was so nervous that if I waited too long, I wouldn’t get in. I ditched them in the store and headed down the road.

As I opened the door to the psychic, I felt a little confused. It was an apartment. I could see baby toys in the living room, and a kitchen off to the side. I was beginning to think I accidentally walked into someone’s home and was about to sneak back out when she came out of the room. A young girl, with dark  hair…some type of accent I can’t even begin to guess… maybe Greek? I dunno. Anyway, she takes my money for a palm reading and gets to work.

She starts by telling me I’m an old soul, that I’ve lived other lives before this one…yada yada yada. Two minutes into it and I’m thinking I’ve been had, when suddenly…her expression changes. “What does the letter J mean to you?” I tell her, “It spells my name…it’s the first letter”. I didn’t want to feed her any extra information, you know? She continues, “You do know you are creative, right?” I said, “Well, sometimes…”. I was thinking of how I’d spent a few nights at the local art bar over the past year or so, but also thinking of how the art gene sort of skipped over me. She interrupts my thoughts. “People are going to know your name. They are going to know your name in three to five years.” She kept studying my palms, almost squinting, as if there was some faint writing on them that was difficult to see. “I see these hands writing. That’s how people will know your name. You aren’t writing for money, but the money will follow. You are writing because you’ve been through an awful lot in the past few years, and writing is how you heal yourself. You will write to help heal others, and they will know your name…in three to five years”. Holy crap! I looked over at my friend, Tracy, and we just stared at each other in amazement. Anyone who knows me knows that I write, and it’s only started last year because of what I’ve been through in my healing process. My therapist suggested a journal, and things just took off from there.  I’d never written a single thing before last year…and now I’m in the process of sharing my stories in the hopes it will resonate with others and help them learn to tell their own. Damn, this girl was good.

Around two weeks later, I received a letter from the “American Journal of Nursing”. They are going to publish one of my essays on the back cover of their journal this fall. And last week, I was notified by another nursing journal, “Nursing 2017”, that they plan to publish a different essay of mine.  Needless to say, I’m pretty damn excited about this…my first publications and I’m two for two!  I can’t help but wonder, if it’s this exciting now with these two stories getting published…what will happen in “three to five years”?

 

 

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Apr. 22/17

 

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Good mood day

I’ve been participating in a writing group on here for quite a few months now. Linda G. Hill runs it. She’s an author, an editor and an all around pretty cool person. She gives us the prompt each Friday, and on Saturday, we write. We use the prompt and can write anything we want.  We can’t edit, (except typos)…it just has to free flow out of our brains. Pretty much like writing in my journal. I like it because sometimes I’m just lazy about writing, and the prompt gets me going. I don’t write in my journal anymore, so it’s good for me. I usually take the word and work it into whatever story I feel like telling. Anyway, this week, it’s hard! The damn prompt is “moo”. Seriously. I can’t sit here and free flow a story about cows. So, I’m going to tuck it into another word, and tell you about why today left me in a good mood. Get it? Mood. Moooood. God, I’m tired.

OK, so I worked today. My first weekend on since starting this visiting nurse job. Also, my first weekend off orientation, so I’m now allowed to pick up overtime. And seeing how it’s my first weekend on after orientation and after getting separated from my husband and learning to live with this pay cut I took, you’re damn right I picked up the overtime.  I saw 7 patients instead of the usual 5-6. As I’m finishing up the last one, my friend Paula calls me. She’s at a local shop, one of those healing places where they offer Reiki, sell stones and books and such. There was a crystal show there, and she thought of me. It closed in 30 minutes and was in the next town over, and I was tired. Also, I’m not really that into crystals. Well, that’s not true…I absolutely love going to crystal bowl meditation…I just never thought about getting my own crystal. I don’t know anything about them, so I thanked her for thinking of me and politely declined. I was yawning and needed to go home and finish my paperwork. As I hung up, I suddenly realized I wasn’t going home, but was going to this store. It wasn’t even a conscious decision. I just knew I was going.

I get there, and the crystals are pretty awesome. So beautiful and all so different from each other. Some were priced at $300 and up! I asked him how I would know which one to buy and he said to touch them and if it felt right, I would know it. So, I did. I found one that I was drawn to. I asked him about it and he said it was Green Apophyllite. It’s supposed to cleanse your heart chakra and help with psychic ability. As he said it, Paula looked at me with such a sincere, loving, warm expression and I knew this was the one for me. But, it was in the pile of expensive crystals, and really…did I want to spend my overtime money on a rock? I looked at him as I clutched it to my heart, and asked how much. He smiled and said, “twenty dollars”.  I feel like he was lying, and I let him.

I ended up buying some Animal Dream Oracle cards on a whim, while I was there. Paula had already bought me two meditation charms before I had arrived. It’s like everyone knew I was going there today, before I even knew it. I came home and held the crystal to my heart again for a bit. Wow, I just teared up a little bit writing that. My heart chakra is the only one that still makes me cry now. I guess I’m still a work in progress.

Anyway, I shuffled the cards and put the crystal on them. I knew I was only going to pick one, and I knew it was going to be perfect for either me or Paula. I was thinking of her when I drew it, but couldn’t figure out if I was drawing for her or me. Turns out, it was for me…


 

 

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Apr. 15/17

 

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Listening to God

I  did something risky and I think God made me do it.

A few months ago, I was driving with my son and he randomly asked me about hitchhiking.  “Mom, isn’t hitchhiking a really bad idea?” I emphatically answered, “Yes! It’s very dangerous”. He had watched a YouTube video where someone was hitchhiking and some crazy thing happened to them, so he thought to bring it up to me. He then brought up the story I’d told him awhile back of the last time I hitchhiked. I was 19 and took a ride from a man around 60. I’d told him where I was going and we drove off. A minute later, I realized this guy was sketchy. I just a felt a bad vibe from him.  A “knowing”. We happened to pass my friend walking down along the road, so I told the guy he could just let me off there with my friend. He slowly looked at me and said, “No. I’m taking you where you need to go”. It was so weird. I mean, REALLY freaking creepy. Then… he locked the doors. My heart went in my throat. He looked kind of like the Penguin in Batman. I remember him to be wearing a trench coat, but that very well could be my imagination filling in the blanks. Regardless, he should have been wearing one, because he was just that kind of guy. I had this “feeling” inside me, that this was not going to end with him just dropping me off. This was bad news. This guy was definitely planning on making me a statistic.  We near a bend in the road where he had to yield. Well, he slows down, almost to a stop,  and I pull up the lock and jump out while the car is still moving! I haul ass over to my friend and live to see another day.  Anyway, I’ve told that story to my boys to scare them from ever hitching a ride, and I think it worked.

So, my son brings that story up, totally out of the blue (we haven’t talked about it in years) and I tell him “I’ve never hitchhiked again, and I’ve never picked up a hitchhiker since then, either”. We discuss the dangers of picking up strangers, how they could be serial killers or rob you or whatever. I tell him how no one really hitchhikes anymore, anyway. We get home and decide to order takeout, so I leave to pick it up.

I’m coming home with dinner, maybe 45 minutes after this conversation. It’s sleeting, around 35 degrees out…miserable weather. I round the corner about 2 miles from home and what do I see on the side? Yep…a freaking hitchhiker. I shit you not. I swerve to avoid him. It’s so miserable out, I could barely see him. He had no coat on, a flannel shirt and a hat and I could see his soaked bag on the side of the road. I continue on home, thinking “Wow, what a coincidence to see a hitchhiker so soon after talking about them with Eric”. I keep thinking that, as I turn on my road. There’s another voice in my head saying, “Jami , you know there are no coincidences”. Then, yet another voice says “God is telling you to pick up that hitchhiker. The poor guy is freezing and in the middle of nowhere”. I counter that with my own voice (yes, I have LOTS of voices in my head….FYI) saying, “What if God is NOT telling you to pick him up and was really giving you the message/lesson back when you were 19 and if you ignore the lesson and get murdered tonight, it’s because you weren’t paying attention to the warning God gave you way back then? He could be testing you to see if you paid attention!”  I kept thinking of the stories I learn in church, of how Jesus went to the marginalized, the sick, the needy… he helped the risky people, the people other people looked down on. Like that story of a homeless man outside a church and all the churchgoers walk right past him, basically stepping right over him, to get into church and worship God, when all the while, God WAS the homeless man. Then, I’d think of how nice people get murdered every day just for being nice and trying to help others. A voice in my head said, “Don’t forget how the girl ended up in the basement in Silence of the Lambs”…. seriously, all of these voices were arguing as I pulled up to my house. I took a deep breath, blocked out the voices and asked myself “what do I FEEL is right?” No sooner than the question was formed, I found myself turning around to pick this man up. The voices came back. “Jami! What if this guy kills you? No one will know you’re even picking him up. The boys won’t get to eat their Chinese food and even worse, they’ll lose their mother!” Valid point, voice of reason…valid point. Still, I went. “Come on, what serial killer in his right mind would choose a miserable, sleeting, freezing night to stand on a dark road, hoping for an unsuspecting woman to pick him up so he can kill her?” Even serial killers have enough common sense to do that shit when it’s warm out, right? All I could think of was how miserable I would feel to be standing out in this weather, hoping for someone to help me… yet knowing no one probably would.

So, I pulled up to the guy. Turns out, wasn’t a guy at all. It was a girl. She was about 20, and actually… there were two girls there. The bag I saw was really a purse. They were freezing, soaked to the bone and so grateful to get in my car. They said were at a boyfriends house and got into a fight and he kicked them out. I think they’d been drinking, but not sure. They lived a few towns away and had no phone to call for a ride. I end up driving them to a friend’s house the next town over. They didn’t kill me. They didn’t rob me. They could have. I lucked out, for sure. They kept talking about how long they were trying to find help. They knocked on doors and had no luck. I said, “If you knocked on my door, there’s no way in hell I would have let you in.” They understood, and said “I hope we aren’t making you go out of your way”. I replied, “Yes, I am, but it’s OK. I wanted to”, and told them the story of my hitchhiking conversation with my son and how I felt it was God’s way of helping them out tonight and how I was in my driveway and turned around to find them. They liked the story and kept talking about how it was nice to know there were still helpful people around, and about paying it forward some day. All the while, I was looking at them out of the corner of my eye, because, you know…they could still have robbed or killed me. I had my “Odor Assasin” car deodorizer spray handy, and my plan was to spray it in their eyes if they pulled anything funny. Sorry, it’s all I had. Anyway, it all worked out in the end. I told the boys about it when I got home, and they were pissed at me for doing something so dangerous and made me promise to not do it again…which I did. And I won’t.

I settled in for the night and went on Facebook. I saw that an old friend of mine passed away. He was a gay rights advocate…one of the “marginalized”. The postings about his death were pretty much at the same time I picked up those girls. Coincidence? Maybe. But I like to think it was God, cradling my friend and whispering in my ear…reminding me to not step over anyone.

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How to reblog posts without “sharing buttons” ***Updated 4/13/17

Hi friends. I’ve had several people ask me how to share/reblog my posts, since I don’t have a “reblog” button. My word press site is a self hosted, so it’s not allowed to have a re-blog button. If you want to share my posts, there are now THREE ways.

First, you can download “Press This” found at this link  https://en.support.wordpress.com/press-this/        This attaches to your tool bar and lets you share anything you come across on the internet.

The second way is to ping-back. Click on the post you are interested in, then copy what’s in the address bar at the top of the page. Then, paste it into the body of your post and it will create a link to my post, or whoever you’re trying to share.

The third way, which just might be the easiest, is to download the plugin Sumome. It allows you to add a sharing toolbar which has a WordPress button in it. Many thanks to Chris at The Story Reading Ape for giving me this tip!

Good luck!

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Giving a deer story

I’m giving this post as a belated birthday gift to my blogging soul-sister, Bethany.  I hope this condensed, off the cuff version of my relationship with deer is successful. I’m sure it will be long, so I won’t hold it against everyone else for not reading it…

When I was a kid, my parents had a small painting of a deer in their bedroom. It was on the wall, just after you walked in the room. I never paid too much attention to it, but knew it was there. Their room was a place of comfort to me…a place I would sneak into at night to feel loved, snuggled against my mom, being quiet so I wouldn’t wake Dad.

One night, I had a dream. I’m not sure how old I was, but it had to be younger than nine, because nine is the age I was when my mom moved away, and I know she was living with me when I had it. Anyway, it was one of those dreams where you’re dreaming you’re in your own house and everything is the same as real life, so you aren’t sure it’s a dream, you know? So, in this dream, I’m sleeping in my parent’s bed. I wake up and I’m alone in the bed. I sit up, and see the deer from the painting is alive and in the room. I walk over to it and it bites me. There was no pain…I can’t say I was even aware of the bite as it happened. However, I was completely aware that the bite was going to kill me. I sat alone in the room, looking at the deer as it looked at me. We were both calm, and we both knew I was dying. I wasn’t scared, which looking back seems strange, for a little kid. I knew I was dying because I could feel my body being filled up with some sort of heavy sensation and I could taste it. I won’t try to describe it with words, but I can still remember that taste, and the sensation, to this day…and I’m 45 years old now. That dream has stuck with me this whole time.

Fast forward through life: My parents split and my mom moves half way across the country when I’m 9. My dad remarries when I’m 12 and I endure some pretty decent trauma…emotional neglect, sexual/emotional/physical abuse. I survive and go about what I think is my normal life…except there’s no such thing as a normal life after going through those kinds of things. I was just so good at stuffing things down and pretending I was normal, even I didn’t realize I was hiding anything.

So, I hit the age of 44 and it all bubbles to the surface. Like a volcano. A volcano that’s been simmering mostly unnoticed for almost 35 years. I started peeling off layers and it got real ugly around here. I was in a state of depression, to say the least. I spent so much time in therapy, I think I funded my therapist’s new car. Long story short, we kind of figured out that the way out of that dark hole was for me to find a way to forgive my inner child. The nine-year old me was pretty easy to forgive. She was just an innocent little bystander. It was the thirteen year old me that I was having a hard time forgiving. I hated her. The things that girl did…ugh. She was a gross, dirty loser who did bad, bad things. Of course, we all know children who suffer sexual abuse are not doing bad things. But when you grow up as one of those kids, you really do think that way. Even at 44 years old. It’s crazy, but that’s how the brain works. So, I sat under that black cloud for months, feeling hopeless. I just could not shake that heavy weight of guilt and shame, no matter how hard I tried. I intellectually understood it, but getting your soul to match up to your brain is not as easy as you think.

My therapist told me talking about it is how I would heal. I really could not imagine telling anyone other than her. What would people think of me? I knew if they knew, they would see I wasn’t the person I had been pretending to be, all of these years. They would know I was a fraud. But, as much as I didn’t want them to know, I knew I was going to tell. I finally mustered up the strength to tell one of my closest friends. I drove to her house one morning, last February. I was sweating as I neared her road and almost chickened out and turned around. As I approached her driveway, I thought I was imagining things…four deer walked out of her back yard and slowly crossed in front of my car. I couldn’t believe it. I’d seen deer before, maybe one a year…always late at night. I’d never seen one in the daytime before, and certainly not four of them, casually strolling in front of my car. They all looked my way as they passed.

I went in my friend’s house and spent the next few hours nervously pouring the contents of my damaged soul out on her counter. I shook and cried and felt things so uncomfortable, I still can’t believe I did it. I couldn’t look her in the eye. When I was done, I waited for her to judge me. Of course, she didn’t. She was great, like friends are. I ended up telling that story the same emotional way, over and over again, to different friends, until it gradually became less and less painful to tell. Just like my therapist told me would happen.

So, I go home that day and look up the spiritual meaning of the deer. Of course, there’s many opinions out there, and it all depends on what you believe in, but the first one I looked at was the ringer: “If a deer visits you, it symbolizes the innocence of your inner child”. Whoa! I felt something stir inside me, like when you are watching a scary movie and you get a suspenseful glimpse of some sort of clue. What are the chances that FOUR FREAKING DEER would happen to walk in front of me at ten in the morning, symbolizing the innocence of my inner child, as I’m about to tell the story of losing my childhood innocence? Meaningful? Yes. Enough to shake my depression? No.

I told my therapist about the deer and she gave me a book on spirit animals. I read that the deer attacking me in my dream was a test. It makes sense. I was about to go through some serious shit, and my spirit guide wanted to make sure I was going to survive. Nothing like a deer bite to toughen a kid up.

So, another few weeks of living under the dark cloud go by. I’m still fascinated by the encounter with the deer, but it’s not making me feel any better. At this point, the dark cloud has become my new normal. I remember thinking, “So, this is how people with depression live”…just matter of fact-like, as this was how things were going to be from now on. I was lying on the couch one afternoon, staring mindlessly at the television. My husband and youngest son came home. It was a few days shy of my son’s birthday. I sat up, because even though I was going through hell, I couldn’t let my kids see it. It was a full-time job acting normal for them, but I pulled it off.  Anyway, they come in the door and I hear my husband say, “Did you tell Mom about what you saw this morning?” I sat up and looked at my son. His face was glowing with excitement. “I was getting ready for school this morning, and as I was looking in the mirror, I saw a deer in the reflection! It was standing in our back yard, right outside the window!” My eyes opened, real wide. Like I had been in a dream, and suddenly woke up. “You saw a deer?!”I’m sitting there, incredulously staring at my almost thirteen year old son, as he excitedly tells me about seeing a deer… an animal I’d been researching and relating to my life for weeks. An animal neither of us hardly ever see. And he’s really excited about it.  He’s so young and innocent. The deer is young and innocent. My son…the deer…it clicks. He’s turning thirteen. I was thirteen when I was abused. If someone molested him right now, would he be dirty and gross and full of shame? No! He’s just a kid. It wouldn’t be his fault at all. Oh my God, I get it…it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t my fault. 

And just like that, the dark cloud lifted…

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Apr. 8/17

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Not just any patient

By now, most of you probably know I’m a  nurse. I write about it frequently. I can’t help it…there’s just so many worthwhile stories to tell. Or maybe, it’s just because that’s what takes up most of my life. I could write about taking my kids to basketball practice, but I don’t think that would make for much of a read. Well, now that I’m thinking about it, I do write a lot about my divorce. No, not the actual divorce, I guess. More like, “life after the divorce”. There’s been some pretty worthwhile stories to tell there, too. There was that time I fixed my leaking washing machine, and the stories of validating my children’s feelings when I couldn’t make things all better. And we can’t forget the time I unclogged the dishwasher drain…my grossest story, yet! But today, I’m telling another nursing story…

This one takes place back when I worked at the local hospital. I was caring for a sweet older woman named Janet. She wasn’t feeling well, and was admitted for testing. We got along great. She was a third generation townie and one of the local elementary schools was named after her father. She was a retired teacher from that school, and just so likable…I took to her right away. She was classy and well-educated, yet funny and down to Earth. She always had her pristine, blue robe on because it just wasn’t appropriate for someone like her to walk around in a johnny. I think maybe I was on my second or third morning with her when she received the news…cancer. Metastatic. No curative treatment. Damn.

I saw the doctor walk out of her room. He had already told me the diagnosis before going in. My heart was heavy as I walked down the hall. We’d only had a few days together, but still…it was uncomfortable walking in there. I’d say this was around my 3rd year or so of being a nurse. I’d seen patients get bad news before. I’d seen patients die right in front of me before. The thing is, 3 years is not a long time, as far as nursing goes. I still hadn’t acquired the skills you don’t learn in nursing school. The human skills. Connecting. Communicating sincerely. The things that are the best part of my career now, were not second nature to me, back then. I kept waiting for those instincts to kick in, to know what to say or do to make someone emotionally feel better in times of despair, but it hadn’t happened. I didn’t know how it was supposed to happen, but I’d seen it in the older nurses and figured it just had to come with time. I hoped I would even be able to tell, when the time came…if the time came. I had the physical skills part down pat, but that other part…I just didn’t have it yet. I knew that walking in her room, and hoped she wouldn’t notice.

I softly spoke. “Hi Janet”. She was sitting up in bed, with her hands clasped on her lap. We looked at each other. This is where that emotional part would have come in handy, but like I said…I didn’t have it yet. I started to go towards her IV pole, just to check it, so I’d be doing something other than standing there, not knowing what to say. I walked around her bed and held her IV tubing up, scanning the line. It was working perfectly fine, so that was a kind of dumb idea. I let the line go and met her gaze again. “Well, it looks like it’s bad news”, she said. She looked kind of sad, but also kind of shocked…like she was watching a movie, but a movie of herself. Pretty much a normal reaction, I suppose. I’d seen it before, in my other patients. I’d gotten a pit in my stomach with my other patients, too…but this time felt different. That’s when I realized, Janet wasn’t just any patient. We had formed a bond. I sat on the edge of her bed, wanting to say something to make her feel better. That’s a problem, right there…because there isn’t anything you can say to someone who was just told they have a terminal illness to make them feel better. Nothing. So, I sat there and sighed. And she sighed. As we looked at each other, it suddenly didn’t seem awkward at all. It seemed real. I mean, the kind of real you get when life hits you hard with a fast ball. I knew that’s how she felt, and I could feel it, too. I think just sitting there, absorbing that fast ball with her, was enough. I think it was the most comfort there was to give.

After a few minutes, she sort of shook it off…that shocked feeling. It’s like she stopped watching the movie and came back to her real life. She said to me, “Well, what do we do now?” Crap. How the hell was I supposed to answer that? I couldn’t tell her to just sit there alone while I tended to my other patients. I couldn’t tell her to think about which hospice company to use. I couldn’t tell her to make sure her affairs were in order…though those were the only thoughts running through my head. I started to feel nervous, when all of a sudden, I blurted out…“Want some ice cream?” She just stared at me for a few seconds, then looked at the clock. It was 10:30am. She looked back at me, and slowly but surely…a smile formed. “What do I have to lose? Let’s eat ice cream at 10:30 in the morning!” She giggled, and I joined her in the laugh as I trotted out to the kitchen and came back with two chocolate Hoodsies. We sat side by side that morning, looking out the 3rd story window, contemplating life, smiling and eating ice cream. And that’s when I became a seasoned nurse.

 

 

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Apr. 1/17

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