There is meaning and purpose in each call we respond to. Our presence can be to act as a messenger or simply to show kindness and compassion to someone that needs it. Often, our patients teach us about ourselves and can act as catalysts for our own lives. Our work can teach us a lot about life if we are mindful. Mindfulness acknowledges that all we have is this moment, the next is not promised.
As I sip my morning coffee and complete my morning duties you begin your journey through my coverage area. You’ve just finished a vacation with your family in Michigan and you’re returning home. You have no idea that in a matter of minutes your car will be hit head on and your daughter will suffer injuries she will not recover from. When I piece together the events that preceded our meeting I imagine your son and daughter acting as typical teenagers and imagine the great vacation you had with them prior to our fateful meeting. My heart fills as I imagine you having quality time filled with happy memories with your family because these will be your last moments on earth with your daughter.
Today, my partner and I would become part of your story. First, by aiding our crew with your daughters care, then in acting as the second unit in to meet the driver of the vehicle that struck your car. Finally, we would arrive to the hospital to transport your son who also suffered injuries, but survived. You would have no idea about my involvement in your story prior to our meeting. Unprepared to see the hope in your eyes when inquiring about your daughter, you ask, “Were you there?" The reality was there was nothing anyone could say to ease your worry or pain. However, there was one thing I could offer, the gift of knowing that the driver of the other car was deeply concerned about your daughter. So, I shared this with you on our way down to our local trauma center.
Three days passed and word traveled that your daughter passed on. My partner, who had been intently following your story, knew that your son was traversing surgeries of his own. When my partner suggested that we check in on you I was hesitant, not because I didn’t want to, but because I truly didn’t know what to say. I could feel the tears rising as we approached the waiting area and I felt my emotions were about to be exposed. As I swallowed the lump in my throat and fought my loss for words you appeared and hugged us. You remained strong while sharing your daughters story and explained that your family wanted to celebrate her life and show gratitude for the time you had with her. There were more hugs as you introduced us to your husband and her siblings. You then turned to me and said “thank you for sharing the drivers concern with me I would have wondered about that.”
Today was the worst day of your life and through caring for you and your family we were all reminded that all we have is the moment.
“Enjoy life today because yesterday is gone and and tomorrow is never promised.”