I know I work in a nursing home and that every resident will inevitably pass away, but it doesn't make it any easier.
One of my favorite ladies is dying. I know I'm not supposed to have favorites, but I can't help it. I love them all. Yes, I love every single resident there. No exceptions. But this lady...well, this lady looks like my great-grandma and she has my mother's name.
The first night that I was officially "on my own" getting residents ready for bed, I had her. I was so nervous. I'd just passed my licensing exam and was so scared I was going to do something wrong.
Well, I was helping her transfer from her wheelchair into her bed and somehow she ended up diagonally on her bed. I had a moment of panic and then she started to laugh. She was laughing so hard she had tears running down her cheeks. So, I started laughing too. We made it through the rest of the care and at the very end she called me back to her bedside.
"Come here," she said. "You did a great job. I'm so lucky to have had you taking care of me tonight. Now, give me a kiss and go home to your family."
I, of course, burst into tears, because I had been so anxious and now she was comforting me. It was such a moment of grace.
I told her how much that meant to me last night when I sat holding her hand at the end of my shift. She was slipping in and out of consciousness, her eyes closed, her mouth parted. But she was there. She squeezed my hand so tightly when I told her how much I love her and the corner of her mouth lifted when I told her how much she makes me laugh. She'll be going soon. I know that and I have no regrets about not saying what I wanted to say to her.
She is very loved and will be very missed. And she will always be one of my favorites.