Another delightful post from Steve Broadway…
For the past two months, I’ve been attending a remarkable weekly ‘Leg Club’ (don’t laugh, it’s a clinic specialising in treating people with all sorts of horrible foot and leg issues)… and, brilliantly, they’ve just discharged me! It’s led by 3-5 specialist nursing staff plus a team of perhaps 8 volunteers. They probably deal with perhaps 30-40 patients a day. Most of the patients are ‘regulars’ who come to have their condition monitored and their specialist dressings changed.
It’s a rather humbling, compassionate experience – which includes nurses kneeling on the floor and carefully washing patients’ feet (and legs).
It’s an almost biblical scenario.
Over the past weeks, I’ve been cared for by the same nurse on three occasions. We’ve chatted and it turned out that, apart from her weekly attendance at ‘Leg Clinic’, she was a full-time Carer for her mother… and apparently had been for most of her adult life (the nurse is perhaps in her late 40s). The last time we’d chatted, she told me that her Mum had recently been transferred to a ‘home’ and so I enquired how her mother was getting on.
The nurse paused, looked at me and gently explained that her mother had died a fortnight ago.
As you can imagine, I was quite devastated.
We continued to chat about her mother and how the nurse had been coping since her death (I’d previously got the impression that the nurse was single and lived at her mother’s house). She told me that her mother’s death had left an enormous vacuum in her life – it had happened so suddenly and that her mother was ‘her life’… and that’s what she did. What was going to happen now? What would she do? How would she cope? We continued to chat quietly and I hopefully said the ‘right things’. I even asked her if I could give her hug… and she said yes, that would be ok… and so I did.
And then she said: “My mother was quite religious and fairly recently told me that she’d like to die either at Easter or Christmas… and so I think she’d be happy”.
I’ve been thinking of the nurse quite a lot over the past few days.
I hope she’ll be alright.
I hope she’ll be able to take time to evaluate things and be able to find a new focus in her life.
I hope her mother’s God will be with her on her journey this Advent.