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May 9, 2022

“Weeds”

Photo by Chris Larson on Pexels.

Another patient came back searching for me one day.

He was an alcoholic, homeless and went into DTs while I was taking care of him and had to go to the ICU, but was still coherent when I first cared for him.

When he returned 2 years(!)later, he brought me a big bunch of flowers(“weeds”) that he had picked along his walk on the side of the road, just for me.

They were the most beautiful bunch of weeds I had ever seen, because they had meaning in them.

I saw him wandering the unit, and he finally came up to the nurses station…
“Rebecca!!! You saved my life, and cared for me when I was unloveable and at my worst! Thank you!”

And he began to cry as he hugged me. Tears from me then too.

He went on to tell me that he was now sober and involved in a church group that helped others achieve sobriety. I was so proud of him, and told him so through my barely-there voice and tears.

These are the moments that keep caregivers going. The moments that refill and regenerate our spirits.

The light that drowns out the abyss of darkness and illness inside the four walls.

The moments that restore our energy and and muffle the negative energy that we are consistently exposed to.

Caregivers are born to do just that, provide good care. And when time allows, we do, and we go home at night in peace with what we did that day….and return refreshed.

These are the moments.

I learned a few months later that he was hit by a car and killed, by a drunk driver.

Ironic. I almost didn’t believe it when I heard.

In my eyes, though, he fulfilled his God/Love-given mission; he remembered who he was, beyond the pitch blackness of his thoughts and suffering, began loving himself, was on the healing path, helping others heal, and made a difference for me, for sure.

I may have helped save his life in that moment, but he did the hard work of a lot of unlearning, and learning to love and live, himself. As we all have to do at times.

It was just time for him to return home.

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