Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You Must Be a Special Lady

"I've never seen anything like that."

Those were the words of the nurses' aide that rolled her in the wheelchair from her room to the waiting car outside.

"I've never seen anything like that."

That to which the young woman referred occurred four weeks ago as Judy was dismissed from the hospital after an eleven-day stay. It took us all day to work out the release; we were so happy to go home. We gathered up the incidentals as we prepared to leave the room. As she always did, Judy made me check every door and closet twice, then under the bed and in the bathroom again, just to be sure I had not overlooked anything. I typically did.

Then into the wheel chair, out the door, and into the hall. That's when the convocation occurred. One-by-one, every nurse on our wing of the fourth floor, every technician, and every aide, as they noticed Judy exiting her door in her red pajamas, wheel chair, and nasal canula; one by one they gathered, a small crowd in white and blue surrounding Judy.

Many hugs followed, many smiles, and then the tears.

"You're so wonderful," someone said; "You're the sweetest person," said another; and another, "We'll miss you." Hugs, smiles, and even kisses. Judy had won their hearts, one by one, with her kindness, with her goodness, with her gentleness.

They all knew Judy was headed for hospice care, and they all suspected they would never see her again; they didn't; she died four weeks later on a different floor.

"Before I leave," Judy said, "I have a verse of scripture for you all." Their attention arrested, she said,

"The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the LORD lift up his countenace upon thee, and give thee peace."

More goodbyes and hugs and tears followed.

The young aide rolled us down the hall. I asked her about her education, her plans; "I want to be a nurse," she said.

When we reached the car, I opened the door, and just as I began to raise Judy from the wheel chair, the young aide said, "I've never seen anything like that before."

"Like what?" I asked.

"All the nurses and staff around you. I've been here two years and have never seen that before. You must be a special lady."

"She is," I said.

Indeed, she was.


John Ramares said...

You and Judy have meant so much to us - we count it a high privilege to have known you both.

...and now, may the God of all Comfort be upon you and your sons brother Hal.

The Militant Pacifist said...


Helen Beidel said...

Hal, Trey and Matt,

I know Mike has much that he wants to say to you, but I personally want to tell you what an impact Judy has had on my life.

She had the remarkable ability to listen to others and fully empathize while demonstrating the proper and godly way to approach any situation. For example, I never found her to be petty, but didn't feel I was censored for my own pettiness. I know you will identify with that.

I praise God that he allowed her to be here to show me how to live and how to die with dignity. If I linger at the end of life as she did, she will be my example and inspiration.

"I have never seen anything like that."

Helen Beidel