Brave Little Soldier Boy

When becoming a hospice nurse I was asked several questions. The toughest was how I would deal with the death of a child. I didn't quite know how to answer the question. I wanted the job, but couldn't imagine accepting a child's death. My answer was nothing short of the plain simple truth. Nurses Announcements Archive Article

That I wasn't sure I would be able to, that I really didn't want to ever be in that situation. I got the job and was told that if we got any kids I probably wouldn't have to take care of them. We don't get many children on our services.

It wasn't long before we did get a 13-year-old little boy. I'll call him Robbie.

Robbie had been diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of ten during a routine eye exam. He had undergone chemo and radiation and was in remission for a little over a year. During his one year follow up they found that he now had spinal cancer and there was no treatment for him.

Robbie came on service with us. He was nearing the end of his 7th-grade year and was determined to go to school daily. He was able to walk at first, however, before the end of the school year he was w/c bound and had a foley cath in place.

He was steadily getting weaker and declining more and more every day.

He never asked for any special treatment or for anyone to take care of him. He was loved by everyone at his school. On the last day of school, we got a call and I made a trip out. He was so very sick. He hadn't even woken up for most of the day. I told him we were going to take him home early, but he refused.

Robbie finished his 7th-grade year out.

Even as his health was failing him he remained full of life. He wanted to go out on a date before he passed. He did and even had a limo ride. He wanted to go to Sea World, and did, in his w/c.

Make a wish sent him to meet the Orange county chopper people and he got to ride on a Harley. By the 3rd week of summer vacation, Robbie was starting to lose feeling to his feet. I seemed to be finding reasons to "stop by" almost daily.

By the start of his 5th week, I was his nurse and still found reasons to stop by daily. I came in one day and Robbie was writing furiously in a spiderman notebook. I said "Whatcha writing soldier?" He looked up and said, " My will. Do you think you could help me? I keep forgetting to remember stuff." We wrote his will out, him dictating, me transcribing.

  1. Baseball cards - My big brother. One day he might be on one.
  2. Fishing stuff - My dad. He'll be sure to catch a big one.
  3. Clothes - Goodwill. They won't fit anybody at home.
  4. Important stuff/papers/awards - Mom. She won't lose 'em.
  5. Room - My little brother. He shouldn't have to keep sharing with my sister.
  6. Stuffed animals - My little sister. She'll love 'em to pieces.

The list went on and on. These were the ones that stuck with me the most. We had his will notarized and he was so proud that he had done it. He said, I gotta plan my funeral next you know. I hafta get ready to go to Heaven with Jesus.

I hugged him and held him tight. Told him everything would be okay, all the while begging God not to take him from me. Not to put his family through this. Constantly asking why?

In time, I realized that even though Robbie was only 13 he was much more prepared to pass than most of the adults I knew. He had no anger or fear. He accepted his fate. He spent days planning his funeral. The music, the color of his casket piece, his casket, his clothes. He had to have a casket with an angel on all four corners so they could "Carry him to Heaven".

By the middle of summer, Robbie was paralyzed from the chest down.

He itched fiercely and began to have severe pain. We put him on Atarax and Duragesic patches. He never complained, never got angry. He was such a soldier.

He passed away in his sleep a week before school started back up. We had started continuous care, and he was lying in my arms as he took his last breath. His funeral was the most beautiful funeral I had ever been to.

Maybe it was knowing that he planned it, every last little detail, almost like one would plan a party. It was beautifully choreographed..... He was buried in a Harley T-shirt and jeans. He had a guitar pick in his hand. They played when I get where I am going, Who you'd be today, I will always love you, You raise me up, and many more.

His flowers were all red, orange and black. Several of them had motorcycles in them. He even was buried in the spot he picked out under a weeping willow. He told his momma that he wanted to be buried there so that when he went to be with Jesus she wouldn't have to cry because the tree was doing it for her.

What did I learn? That God knows what he is doing and takes us when the time is right.

Robbie was so much more prepared and ready for his death and it couldn't have come at a better time for him. And guess what... I love pedis now. Somehow it is the most fulfilling thing you can do, even if it is helping them have a comfortable passing. My little soldier boy, I salute you and will never forget how brave you were as you set out on your journey.

Specializes in ER, PICU.

beautiful, couldnt even read it out loud with out crying, very touching

Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep..
The toughest was how I would deal with the death of a child.

Sounds like you had a great teacher! thanks for writing, don't ever stop. You are good.