I don't post nearly as much as I used to. Some of that is not feeling like I ever have time and some of that is just being in a place in my life where I am starting to have peace again.
But I was reminded that this week is National Nursing Week and it occurred to me to write a little something about a nurse I am truly grateful for.
She was a neighbour of ours, on her way to dropping her kids off at daycare. Hectic morning, hectic life. She crested that little dip on 84th and there was Craig's car and the wreckage from the collision only minutes prior. She was the first person on scene.
Her training kicked in and she called her husband to come meet her and get her kids out of the car and away from the whole scene. She checked the other driver and headed straight for Craig's car. It was so badly damaged she had to crawl in through one of the windows and all she could reach was his hand. She was scratched up by the broken glass and shards of metal and still sat there for over ten minutes until the police arrived, holding his hand and praying for him.
It took me months to be able to speak to her after his accident. I was so grateful for her honesty, her ability to recount all the worst parts of the story, no matter how painful it was for either of us. She was one of the few people who knew enough to refrain from trying to coddle or protect me, that the pain was in the details and I needed all those details.
She told me Craig was not conscious, that he was struggling to breathe, that she could see slight movement under his eyelids. She described to me the last few moments of his life - a time I would have given anything to be there for.
In some ways I experienced a lot of anger over not being the person to be there. I felt it was my responsibility. That I was his wife and I NEEDED to be there. This is something most people may not understand, but however traumatized I would have been, I would still rather have been there to hold his hand and tell him everything was going to be ok, than have been sitting at work, chatting with a friend, completely oblivious.
I was told later that the police all but dragged her out of the car, that she refused to leave. She was crying and praying and insistent that someone stay for Craig.
I often wondered what the chances were that a nurse would be the first to show up. Pretty rare, right? But given how horrific the accident was, I'm not sure someone else could have handled it as well. It took almost six months for her to be able to fully recount the story to me and for me to be able to hear it. It is something that stayed with her, that affected her in a huge way.
But because of her someone was there to hold his hand, to pray over him, to show him that he was not alone. I hope that he was aware of her there and that he was not afraid. I like to think she was at least a comfort to him in those final moments. And what an incredible gift that is.
So this week I just want to remember that nurse, and all the wonderful nurses out there, and say thank you for doing what you do, saving lives, and taking care of our loved ones when they need it most. You are all amazing.