I happen to be the Marketing Director at the Good Samaritan Society Village where Toni Brown works as a nurse. We were both hired about the same time (in 2014), but since Toni works the overnight shift, I hadn't gotten to know her well. But then....my father began his end-of-life journey. My dad moved to our Village after my mom died in 2019, first in our Assisted Living, and then to our skilled nursing. When my dad went on hospice, I began spending more and more "off hours" here at my place of employment, but being here as a family member, not a co-worker, was a uniquely different experience. I got to know my teammates in a whole new light. Although several nurses (and dietary and housekeeping staff) stood out, Toni, by far, stole my heart! I spent three nights in my dad's room as he faded through transitioning and into an actively dying phase and Toni was my guiding light through it all. She was always a reassuring voice, an extremely competent nurse who knew what to do, and she extended grace and compassion to my father and me every step of the way. She explained to me what was happening to my dad as his body changed; she assured me that the pain medications were keeping him comfortable, and she hugged me when the end came.
My dad was actually an atheist; having served through three wars, he couldn't fathom a God that would allow such cruelty. But Toni was accepting and open. She met him where he was, and yet comforted him when he hallucinated seeing my mom in his final days. She assured him that my mom was waiting for him - even though Toni knew he may not believe that. Her belief in such things helped to comfort him and aided him in letting go of this world. I was so impressed by how she was able to personalize her approach to his needs.
Toni did not "just" provide physical care to my dad's body, she served his emotional and spiritual needs as well...and mine. I am so grateful she was working the three nights I was there and needed an angel by my side. She is a true blessing!