Last year, my brother spent a lot of time in the hospital. During one of his extended stays, he developed a special friendship with Charlie Ruby. Charlie went above and beyond to give my brother a true friendship. During several admissions to the hospital, sometimes on a different floor, I would ask my brother, “How is the nursing staff?” He would say, “Okay, but they aren’t Charlie.” On his final admission, his first words were, “Where is Charlie?” Charlie had some days off and every day my brother would ask when he would be back. I wish I had a picture of the smile on their faces when Charlie entered the room when he was back to work!
As things turned worse, we had meetings with palliative care and hospice. Charlie would excuse himself, stating the meeting was for family and my brother would respond, “No, stay, you are family.” In his final hours, Charlie was a great help in explaining what would happen while connecting us with pastoral care and leading us in prayer.
One time, Charlie teared up and said, “Sorry, this is not what a professional would do,” and I answered, “but it is what a friend would do.” Charlie is more than a nurse, he is a true friend.