My patient died

My patient died.
Right at shift change.

Whenever this happens I’m always inundated with emotions. I work in oncology so death is not usually unexpected. But what do I do as a witness to the end of someone’s life?  It feels weird to be talking to someone at 715 and then telling his sister he’s dead at 8. In this case I felt privileged to have eased his death and earned the trust of his family. But I was also sad. Sad for the family. Reminded again of the sorrow of my own losses. As his niece wailed, threw herself on him and screamed, “NO!,” I thought, “she’s doing what we all feel like on the inside.” Most of us keep it in. We cry, we are expressionless, but on the inside we’re screaming. I wonder if her coping will be easier…

I wondered if I should have given him more medication and made his passing easier.  Or if I should have made the doctor get him to hospice sooner. I wondered if I should be sadder. Or maybe not as sad?

So I went home, cried alot during the drive, and the Lord sweetly reminded me to just call on His name. Not to try to stop crying, or try to behave differently, but to invite Him to be one with me, even in the middle of the waves of emotions.

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