I work in a hospital.
Working there has taught me a lot of things. Some is from on the job training and other things, you tend to just realize.
One of those things is death.
Yes, the goal of the doctors and nursing staff in hospitals is to help people feel better and to fix them. However, that’s not always possible. Sometimes, it’s just a persons time to go. At times, in fact, a person may come to the hospital knowing they won’t be leaving alive.
Before working at Presby I’d never seen a dead person aside from funeral homes. And still, I can count on one hand how many funerals I’ve been to. It’s 4. I’ve been to 4 funerals. Yes, that’s it. In 26 years I’ve only been to 4 funerals. I don’t intend on attending any for a long time.
So when I experienced my first hospital death, it was odd. Very odd. I wasn’t really upset by it. I didn’t know the person. I had no ties to him. He was just some guy. It felt weird. I was an outsider who saw a family grieving the loss of a loved one. It was the first time in all 26 years of my life I’d felt that way about death. Honestly, I always feared it. Everyone I’d ever seen dead were those who I was close to and loved. It’d never been a stranger.
Now don’t go thinking I’m some heartless bitch for not crying or caring. I did care and honestly what really made it hit home hard was that I’m not the only one who loses loved ones, was seeing his family. The guy had people that were going to miss him. The guy had a wife, children and grandchildren.
Death is an odd thing. One moment you see a person sitting up, looking around and laughing, then, in a blink of an eye, they’re gone.
It smacked me in the face just how fragile and precious life is. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to us. There is nothing that says you or I have to wake up in the morning. I’ve seen so many things in the news lately about babysitters killing kids, parents harming their children, children harming their parents or strangers killing each other.
Seeing so much death in the world makes you appreciate what you have. It makes you value every breath you take and love those around you even more. I will admit that when I read the horrible stories about what people do to each other, especially kids, I do get upset. Even though I don’t know those kids, it’s sad thinking that someone could hurt another human being.
I have a new appreciation for life. I cherish the moments that I have with my family and my kids, because, well, who knows how long I have.