Saturday, July 25, 2009

Melissa, the Hospice Nurse

Melissa is a nurse with compassion and a great heart. She cared for both Barry and me for several days. I watched her tenderly wipe his brow with a damp wash cloth and carefully re-position his head on the pillow. She sometimes sat beside me and hugged me as I wept.
How does she do this day after day, I wonder. Her business is smoothing the journey of the dying as they travel on to another realm.But she also tends the living who stay behind and grieve.
I could never do what she does, but I am oh, so thankful that she can do it.
Melissa made up for my frustration in dealing with a medical world that no one could understand. I told her she was, indeed, an angel of mercy.
She told me that I had inspired her. How could that be? I saw nothing in what I was going through that could inspire anyone.
"You have inspired me, " she said, " because I see the love you have for your husband, and although I've seen many people pass through this place, I've never been touched by anyone as I have you. I have been married twenty years, and I hope I can love my husband as much as you love Barry."

We never know what our actions say to others even in the most difficult times. I saw myself desperately trying to help my husband transcend this world in peace, to be relieved of suffering, and to know he could leave me with no fear for my well-being. I agonized over my decisions and begged doctors to help me make them. I'd never have thought of myself as inspiring.


Brenda Kay Ledford said...

You are an inspiration to all of us by all the work, dedication, and support you give all of us in NCWN-W. We appreciate you very much and are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
I ordered a copy of your book and look forward to reading it.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

You have lifted him up with your loving arms.

karenh said...

Dear Glenda,
Your love for Barry inspired me in the same way. I'm glad Melissa told you that and also gave you comfort in other ways. I couldn't do what she does either. Thank goodness she was there for you and Barry at an unspeakably difficult time.


Pat Workman said...

This has been a huge transition period for you, Glenda. Having worked as a hospice volunteer, I know exactly what your angel of mercy, Melissa, was experiencing and receiving from you. Your and Barry's unique relationship was and will always be an inspiration to those who knew and know you. I am so glad Melissa was there for you both.

I also completely understand the frustration you experienced in terms of the medical staff, etc.
I am thankful for you both that Barry is no longer suffering. I know you are taking each day one minute at a time as you start to regain your balance. The passing of time doesn't heal the loss but it will bring new inspiration and insight. Though it may feel very lop-sided for a while, you will continue to blossom and shine because that's the kind of person you are...and the best of dear sweet Barry will always be with you...always.

Glenda said...

Thank you Brenda for ordering my book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed your books.
You and Blanche have been such support to me with your cards and encouraging words. I am blessed.

Joan, I loved the poem you posted for Barry on your site. Thank you so much. I'm saving it with many other special words.

Karen, as I go through photos of Barry to make a DVD I see the sweetness and kindness in his eyes and realize how lucky I have been to have this good man love me all these years.

Pat, your words, spoken from experience of loss mean so much. I don't recognize myself at times. Today I was upbeat, laughing and feeling good until tonight when I suddenly fell apart for awhile. This is an emotional roller coaster and I think others have acted the same way.
Should I stop posting on this subject? I feel I have had an experience that might be of interest to others, that might provoke conversation about a subject we don't like to talk about - death - but I don't want to drive my readers away.
Give me your ideas on this, please.

Tipper said...

I'm so thankful you had Melissa to help you and Barry.

I think-if you feel like talking about your feelings here-it would help you-and it would for sure help those who are struggling through the same ordeal.

My book is ordered too.

Pat Workman said...

By all means, Glenda, blogging about your experience can be healing for you and others. You might also find it helpful to find some good on-line grief groups too. Like everything, there are good ones and not so good ones. Just check a few out and drop the ones that don't feel good. Several of my widowed friends like the web grief groups because you can remain anonymous and really let your hair down, so to speak. Another helpful thing about those groups is you can usually find someone to commiserate with in the middle of the night when sleep eludes.

Losing your mate, especially one that you cherished and shared so completely with is like losing more than half of yourself, like losing the air that you breath, the earth under your feet the sky over your head. Every thing looks and feels like a surreal movie happening to someone else, but this will pass. No matter how bad you may be feeling...It Will Pass. Remind yourself of that often.

Give yourself permission to-do-say-be what ever it takes to make this roller coaster ride bearable, it doesn't last forever but it will come and go for some time until it gradually slows down. Nothing will give you relief for a while---except---learning to be supportive, gentle and kind to yourself when your feelings, mood-swings and behavior seems out of character. There would be something really wrong if you didn't react this way. A change of scene can often help temporarily. The trips I took after Dwain died are now some of my fondest memories, even the scary, teary, angry parts will become sweeter and more meaningful over time. Swimming and walking always helped me too.

Grieving is a rebirthing, the process is long, hard and painful but I promise a stronger, clearer you will eventually emerge from this dark painful phase.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Here it is 2:15 AM and I sit in bed listening to Steve Harvey playing banjo downloaded from I-tunes. Barry downloaded much music often things I asked for.
Today was Barry's memorial service in Atlanta and I held up well I think for the most part.
The service was a joyful musical celebration of life everlasting. I felt Barry was there with us and enjoying it.
Now I have to get on with the rest of my life, however long it may be.