Monday, June 2, 2014


April 21, 2011 (c) PR

I was lost in concentration trying to function through the brain fog of my thyroid condition when I realized the resident I was admitting was younger then me. I glanced upward to her diagnosis. A slew of fatal words greeted me. Our paths crossing this day as she came to our facility to die.


Anger. You would think that after working in long term care for almost 30 years I would have developed a thick hide of armadillo skin. That after being there for over 300 peoples dying moment..sitting right there... holding there hands as they slid from their earthly body that I would have developed a hard heart.

Tears again.

I remember everyone of them. All my residents. All the beautiful souls that crossed my path like soap bubbles. Sharing a part of their journeys with me. Some drifting for years, other popping and gone quickly.

I kept the obituaries of everyone person I watched die...until it hit 300. I was 22 years old when I drove to the bridge and tossed them in the muddy Rogue River. From the time I was 17 to 22 I saw more death then I ever wanted to. The number is without a doubt well over 1000 now. I count this way now. one.

each death is simply: one.

You get to pick who is there when a baby is born. You get to pick who welcomes them into the world. You get to pick who will be your friends in your life, you get to pick who will be your spouse, you don't get to pick who is there when you die.

Oh the heart wrenching stories I have seen and been part of. Oh the mysterious and magical deaths I have been part of....oh the tears I have shed...till there were none left.

yet still each life that crosses my path is a different one...each one...simply one.

Worked with a woman with kids 3 - 4 and 5 who slept on the couch as she worked nights with me. I was off for two days and came back to find her a resident dying on my wing. Wrap your head around that without letting it scar your soul. Her children's cries as I carried them one by one out to the police car the night she passed, Haunt me even to this day.

Still my heart is reachable...and each and every resident who comes in is a individual to get to know, even if its only for one day, one moment.

She put on her call light and as I walked in to see her, taking my hand she said, "Darling He is here for me"

"who?" I asked as I tucked her hair behind her ear and straightened her covers.

"He's come to take me to the circus" She giggled easing back into the pillows. Her eyes sparkling in the dim light.

I tucked her in and kissed her forehead. Started towards the door and felt a strong jump in the energy level in the room. Turning back I saw she was gone.


We walked into the room and there he was hanging from the door with the restraint around his neck. I reached him first and lifted him to ease the tension in the strap as co-worker sawed through it with dull bandage scissors. I tried to protect his head as we three fell landing on the hard tile. We laid there gasping for breath. When he had caught his he gurgled "I want to die"

"me too" I confessed.

tears, so many tears.

She groaned painfully and winced in pain.

"Please go get a warm blanket from the dryer" I told co-worker.

I climbed in bed with Mrs. G and laid her head on my shoulder.

"its okay" I whispered "Its okay, I'm here"

Co-worker tucked us in the soft warmth.

'Its okay to let go. G. its okay." I let my breathing sync up with hers. Each one further and further apart. "let go of the pain G" I felt her slid from my arms. many does one have? Will I run out someday?


I may run out someday, but for today I have enough for one more.


This was written in 2011 when I was struggling with thyroid issues and the relentless assault of death at my work.  I post it today because, in the end I ponder the question: many does one have? Will I run out someday?

 Now I know the answer. (click link)

The answer is yes.

and to save my self, I must leave long term care and run for my life. I look forward to finding a job that doesn't gut me and leave me emotionally spent. My heart can't take even one more death.

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