A Mother's Day I'll Never Forget

I have 3 situations in my memory that are so memorable, I'll never forget that day on the job. This is one of them-if I close my eyes, I still see the scene. Nurses General Nursing Article


A Mother's Day I'll Never Forget

Mother's Day in the ICU-working the night shift, my 3 younger children home asleep with their father watching over them. As I was getting report, I asked the day nurse 'what's going on in room 2?" She said, 'not your patient-be glad about that!"

Turns out it was a young woman, who had 3 children of her own. She had a genetic neuro disorder that had rapidly progressed with complications of DIC. She was bleeding out, and it seemed like all the specialties were at her bedside furiously working to try to save her life. The day nurse said, 'she won't make it'.

One of the nurses went out to the waiting room to bring the patient's mother in. The grief on her face is etched into my heart! She went into the room, and one by one the other doctors, RT's, and code members left the room. I T W A S S O Q U I E T.... The mom came out of the room to the door, and quietly was sobbing. Then another woman came into the unit, HER mom, the patient's grandmother! The look on her face was so intolerably sad...the two woman hugged and just looked into each other's eyes..yes, I understand, yes, this is so awful, yes honey I know.

Crying was not optional, so I just stepped into the back. The primary nurse was already in the room supporting this mother, this grandmother - the air in the unit was thick with grief.

A mother's love - so evident tonight.

I thought over and over again about the kids that young mom left behind. Who raised them? How are they doing? I wonder how her mom and her grandmother coped? Even though they'll never know about me, I'll always carry their grief with me.

That is one strange thing about nursing, patients and their families will never know how their situations impacted our lives and maybe shaped our future. All of the good things, the bad things, and the awful real life stories that unfolded in my nursing career don't leave my memory. They stay with me, and shape who I am. I close my eyes, and think of those especially difficult situations, and they are as clear as the day they occurred.

Maybe nurses' hearts are just meant to carry those burdens, maybe it lightens the loads for the ones that are going through it. Maybe it's spreading the grief because so much grief would break their hearts. Maybe as a joined consciousness we pray at different times, and different ways...but that that particular patient /family is not forgotten. It will never be a 'cold case'.

I think that really made me realize how 'unfair' life really is. Medicine has advanced so much, and so many more lives are saved with advances. But sometimes, enough can't be done, and no matter what we do, patients will die. The guy who OD'd and never worked a day in his life, goes on dialysis, was on a vent for 3 days, survives and thrives only to OD again and again. The older man who drank his liver away, goes through DT's and has a wife who is threatening lawsuit if we don't get him a new liver. And then there's this young mom, 3 little kids who will never be able to have her help, soothe, congratulate only like a mother can. Where's the fairness in that? A mother, a grandmother - racked with grief that only a Mother can know who has lost a child.

Mother's Day - a very sad day indeed, for all of us that day-so many years ago.

Nurse for 39 years. Med-surg/ICU/ER/Non clinical. Mom to 3 great kids who are all adults. Married to the same guy for 35 years

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I love stories of experiences.

Specializes in LTC, CPR instructor, First aid instructor..

Beautiful dear. I have never forgotten the deaths of my patients either. Those memories do stay with you for your entire life.

Specializes in Peds, School Nurse, clinical instructor.

Thank you for sharing that story. It was very well written and thought provoking.

OMGosh. I don't think anyone fully understand the many things nurses can go through "all in a days work", except other nurses. Well written, thank you for sharing. Gave me goose-bumps, brought tears to my eyes, and prayers to my lips. Yes, "all in a days work".

Specializes in Programming / Strategist for allnurses.

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