I've been a Registered Nurse from 1980 to present.
Spent almost 20 years in hospital nursing. All over.
Neuro, ICU,med surg, etc.
People died, people almost died, some kept dying,
Or trying to die, or trying so hard not to
And dying anyway.
There was a spectrum of circumstances.
Some people had unresolved conflicts.
That can hold you back.
Some afraid they would go to hell,
Some wanted to die and wouldn't
No one talked about it much.
It was a fact of life. Death.
Oh we learned Kubler- Ross and Maslow
And how to titrate pain meds.
The doses, the side effects, the Doctor's preferences.
We learned the protocols, the rules, laws, the procedures.
We learned some of the patients, an extended family.
We learned whose gift cookies we could trust.
Still pretty much on my own, and among some other nurses,
We learned when to ask, quietly and discretely,
After a successful resuscitation,
"Do you remember?"
Some of that came from patients relaying a disturbing memory,
Being out of body,
During a down time.
Might even have been years earlier,
Somehow, sharing a story between people
Is a powerful healer sometimes.
I talked a lot to Mom about these.
She seemed so close to full understanding.
What concepts did she fail to master?
And here I sit somedays,
Wondering what was her experience
As she crossed over the threshold,
Having been there several times before,
This time she went for real,
Into the Invisible.