In nursing school, we are taught to take vital signs, complete an assessment, and utilize communication techniques. The motions of nursing can be taught, the heart and passion cannot. Those special qualities are exemplified in those who do not choose nursing, nursing chooses them.
Our lives changed dramatically in eight days. My husband and I went from anticipating the birth of our child, to celebrating the fact that we had our first son, to coping with a NICU admission, and later to wrapping our minds around a grave prognosis. We learned a lot: the strength of our marriage, Holy Spirit-led unified decision making, the sanctity and precious nature of life, and pure unselfish love.
We met Lorraine on day five. Her sweet, gentle nature made us instantly trust her. She talked to our little son in such a respectful, loving way. Her cares were completed with tenderness. In fact, through the family-centered care she delivered, she helped us bond with our son and reminded us that we were his parents. She encouraged us to do pampering activities and talked to our son as if he was perfectly healthy. Lorraine picked out Christmas-themed sheets and a blanket for his little bed. Perhaps this gesture seems simple or insignificant, but to us, it was special. We were packing a lifetime of memories into eight days. Lorraine mothered me in my vulnerability and made our room a safe place.
In a culture where it is almost expected to plan the day your baby will be born, we were planning the day we would give our baby back to God. During any life transition, the people you have by your side make all the difference. We felt such peace and love under Lorraine’s special care; we knew we wanted her present when we removed life support. Although she was not scheduled to work, she came in for our family. As expected, Lorraine was respectful, attentive, and professional. In the wee hours of the morning before we left the hospital, we tightly hugged Lorraine out in the parking lot in the frigid December air. It was the second hard goodbye of the night. She took care of us, not as if we’d only known her a few days, but a lifetime.
In the decade that I have been a nurse, I have seen varying degrees of commitment. From the first time Lorraine walked into our room, we knew she was all in. Her beautiful spirit, warm demeanor, experience level and attention to detail will not be forgotten. She is part of our son’s legacy.