My father in law is dying.
He was diagnosed with cancer about 5 years ago...a rare type with no real course of treatment. He was told he could live 6 months or 5 years. He took the long way and did it with strength and courage.
I do this for a living...I care for oncology patients through their struggles with their disease. I care for them when they get the first diagnosis. I care for them in their last days, hours, minutes. I have sat with many during their last breath. It is always powerful, always sad, always earth shattering, always beautiful. In that moment life becomes so small and so big all at once. With each of those moments I become more of who I am.
Now. Now, I am at the bedside of a great man. He is dying. My husbands father. His Daddy. His everything. We gather around him giving him comfort, reassurance. He knows he can trust us to do what is right. I am using my experience to gently float this family on a feather down the roughest waters. I am trying to be their nurse and also their family. Trying to be honest but not clinical. Realistic....but not harsh.
I always say that this job I have is the greatest teacher. I feel I know the secrets....I've been told by my patients. They share with me what they have learned so that I may see what is truly important in this life.
Let them be the ones to give me strength now. Let me be all that I need to be.