Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Come Together

In the wake of the tragic events from Monday leaving many suffering, mourning losses and grieving lives, I am saddened to hear of the passing of one of my co-workers. Her death was unrelated to the events in Boston, but equally as heartbreaking.  As a nurse, there is a mental, emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual connection with people.  Our business is people in crisis. We are the helpers, the healers, and the hand holders.  Last night my long overnight shift began with the discovery of this sad news in the midst of the recurring images of Boston's explosions.  Tragedy comes in many forms and it is relentless, the only constancy in life is the unexpected. My thoughts and feelings are filled with overwhelming empathy for the families touched by the senseless violence incurred at a moment that was supposed to be filled with triumph and joy.
In talking with the nurses that worked beside this beautiful woman for almost thirty years, I realized she was their sister, friend, and extended family away from home.  I am grateful for the long nights spent discussing the challenges of motherhood and how to cope with parenting and work balance.  I valued her wisdom and experiences and am honored she took the time to get to know me.  We shared tough decisions at the bedside caring for the critically ill and she taught me new ways to look at outcomes and goals of care. She was an exceptional nurse, an earth angel guarding over her patients, filled with love and protection for her family. In many work places there is a board of news to keep communication open, informational posts next to obituaries and birth announcements. Birth and death and birth and death, it is as constant as the breath.  People move into this world and people move out of this world.  We carry their memory in our hearts and minds. We carry our children, holding them tightly.

As my co-workers came into work this morning, I was dreading disclosing the sad news to them.  There were hugs, tears, confusion, distress and remembrances, but like every nurse we take a deep breath, redirect our energy and focus on the task at hand.  We are caregivers, we are nurses, we are strong. As we move forward, my friends and family have encouraged me to concentrate on those who help, support and remain unyielding to fear.  Inspiring generosity, giving protection to other living beings, helping others to be safe, and practicing respect for the preciousness of life.  We are surrounded by good people, those moving towards the fire, the images on the news coming out now of local heroes uplifts the human spirit. It is a reminder that we are one, struggling through the complexity of life together.  As a nurse, I am grateful to work alongside such compassionate, knowledgable and kind people.  I am proud to be a part of the helpers and to serve people in any way I can.

There are studies that show that those who are happiest are not wealthy, they are the ones with strong, emotional connections to others.  Communities in the Eastern part of the world teach generosity to their children, to give something of themselves everyday.  A smile, a hug, time to listen, to notice, to play, to sing, to enjoy simple acts of friendliness towards one another.  In the Western world, we tend to ask our children what they learned in a day, the Eastern world asks their children what they gave.  In an effort to connect and inspire generosity we need to live as one, wrap our arms around the world and show love. Remember the goodness, our shared wish to be happy. Giving to another is a way to give to yourself, for we are all one interconnected whole.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hold On

"Holding moments with the depth of care." V. Bunyan
My younger son gives the best hugs, they make me feel loved and needed.  When he locks eyes with me and reaches out, his little arms wrap me up and his chin rests perfectly in my shoulder. He turns his head to the side and settles in for the best squeeze of your life.  He is holding on tightly to the only moment that exists, the present. The moments that fill up my day are precious and challenging.  In the morning we all snuggle in bed together and I am awakened with sloppy wet kisses.  My older son cradles my face in his hands, peering into my eyes and says, "Good morning Mom, what are we doing today?"  The boys start giggling and playing, knees and elbows soon find their way into my neck and we are up.  As I drag myself from the warm bed, glancing at the clock's earliest morning hour, my day begins.  Breakfast, clean up, playtime, clean up, lunch, clean up, nap time, playtime, clean up, dinner, bath time and bedtime.  On my busiest and most stressful days, I try to look through the eyes of my boys.  I have to refocus my impatience, frustration and anger into another emotion quickly. I want to show my boys happiness, kindness, thoughtful, patient and caring ways to live and to act. Meltdowns, tantrums and whining happen and are inevitable, finding a way to listen and talk, explain while disciplining, to living truthfully by good example.  Showing and feeling love is the best gift of all.

Balancing work, child care and school schedules,  errands, meals, and endless laundry fills up all of my extra time. But the in between moments are the most important, first words, story time, coloring, spelling, baking, walks and surprise visitors. Take time to notice your surroundings, feel the wind on your face, enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate as you watch the trains and cars pass by.  When I look back on my life, I want to remember playing peek-a-boo, hide and seek, singing songs, dancing, building and stacking blocks, riding bikes and family dinners.  Daily life can be a struggle, but slowing it down, living and really attending to each moment, make it linger and the memories will imprint on your soul.

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be so hard.  My husband and I had a rare uninterrupted conversation together last night and an even rarer moment of alone time.  As our discussion progressed he said, "I'm just counting on things changing."  I snuggled in next to him feeling warmth through his shirt, holding on tight, bracing myself for the ride.