The Laying on of Hands

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    I wanted to be a nurse since I was 13. My grandmother was diagnosed with Cancer in October of 1992 and died in July of 1993. She heard the word "cancer" and didn't want to fight. Even at the young age of 12, I was helping my family take care of her. My father had been an RN since 1974 and seen a lot, but even I could see the toll watching his mother die was taking on him.

    The Laying on of Hands

    I would do the "morning shift" in the summer. My dad worked 3-11 so he liked to sleep in. I'd get up, make Nana some scrambled eggs (with a little water because she said they'd be fluffier), help her wash up and change into a clean nightgown. We'd watch daytime TV, or play games.

    I remember her loving the Scrabble game show.

    It went on this way for several weeks. My other sisters would pitch in, my mom and my great aunts when they could.

    She took a turn for the worse in the beginning of July. She stopped eating, drinking and eventually stopped responding. We gave her Morphine for her pain. We prayed for her to pass peacefully. Occasionally she would squeeze my hand or nod her head when I spoke to her.

    I would always hold her hand, brush her hair back from her face or kiss her cheek, so she would always know I was there.

    I told her that I loved her and I promised to do something meaningful with my life. She always told me to pursue my dreams, always making sure I was doing well in school, asking me everyday what I had learned that day at school.

    She died on a hot summer evening in the middle of July.

    I was down the street playing with a friend and I just knew she was gone. I was cold that night. I rode my bike home as fast as I could and when I got home my sisters were crying, my father devastated, my mother unsure how to tell me.

    She didn't have to.

    I said goodbye to Nana that night, but promised to carry her in my heart. A little part of me died that night with her.

    I've since become an LPN and have over 7 years under my belt.

    I specialize in geriatrics.

    I see a little of Nana in every patient I treat.

    This is what makes me the person, and the nurse I am today. I provide compassionate care to every patient because of her. I can comfort families because I've been there. I can identify with their pain because I've felt it too.

    I can honestly say "I know how you feel" because I do.

    I can lay my hand on a grand-daughter's shoulder and comfort her because I know her pain and grief. I will spend my days making sure that the patients I treat will know they are getting the highest standard of care. Because it's the same standard I'd give Nana. It's the laying on of hands. Something every nurse should practice.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 17, '18
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    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 66; Likes: 44
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  3. by   diane227
    Great message and I know exactly what you mean. My mother died of cancer in "93 and every time I have a cancer patient I think of her. Those messages in life never leave you and they make you a better person, even if you don't feel it at first. You feel like the pain of loss will never leave you, but it does and you transform it into something wonderful in the way you show compassion and care for your patients. Life teaches us a lot. We just have to listen.
  4. by   melonbelly7
    my gram passed in 98. I see a lot of her in everyone i take care of I think thats why I just love what I do. thanks for writing such a lovley memory, keep nursing with all your heart.