Learning To Love You More




Assignment #31
Spend time with a dying person.

Cindy Elkins
Indiana, USA



I am a palliative nurse at a veterans' hospital. One of my jobs that I choose to do is to make sure that my patients do not die alone. If the patient does not have family present, I will sit with them. I read to them, tell them it's ok to let go, hold their hand, or just sit there next to the bed, not speaking. I have seen patients who have an easy death, and then I have seen patients who struggle with letting go. It is a hard thing to watch at times, and I do think to myself, "why don't you just let go".
And there are times that I have been there to help the family cope with the death of a loved one. I admit, I have cried several times in the past 2 years I have been a palliative care nurse, and some deaths have affected me deeply to where I am depressed for a while. We have a debriefing from the chaplains or psychologist when we feel the need.
I am unable to give names of the patients who I have seen pass because of confidentiality, but one gentlemen in particular, I remember the look of pure peace come over his face the minute he took his last breath. That is when I know he had a "good death" as we call it on the Palliative Care Unit.