Copying this in from my blog All My Pretty Ones:
I made a mistake that I never would’ve thought twice about before I lost my baby. I was taking care of a patient who has cancer and no hope of getting better. We are waiting for her family to make her comfort care. Her husband is at her bedside every minute, struggling with that awful choice. Meanwhile, the husband of a different patient I’d taken care of a few days ago walked by the room where I was drawing up meds for the cancer patient. He said hi enthusiastically, and I gushed to him about his wife, “oh she looks great! She’s doing SO well!”
It seems harmless, but a minute later I felt my face burn and my heart drop as I realized I’d said that right in front of the husband of my dying patient. He has NO chance of his wife getting better, or doing well. He faces loss at every turn in the coming weeks. No nurse is going to say those words to him. I realized that I had probably just made him feel very much how I feel as people gush over pregnant co-workers or new moms in front of me, and in his own wife’s room. There was nothing I could do to take it back. It wasn’t like I was “reminding” him of his loss. No one can remind us, right? It’s always there. We don’t forget it. But I was, ignorantly, rubbing his nose in it. Mr. B, I am so sorry. I am more sorry than you’ll ever know.
Working so much overtime, it feels that my life is being mostly lived on the unit. Aren't we nurses truly lucky people though, to have a job that gives you the option of making so much more money, for a time, if you want to?
Anyway, I had a 25-year-old CFer that is in multi-organ failure and for whom we've done absolutely everything we can, but he's dying. His mom knows this. He's her only child... she doesn't leave his side. I told her when she was out of the room, that my heart was really hurting for her, because I lost my daughter in December. Later she brought it up to me again, and I told her that she was stillborn, so it was quite a different situation. I didn't get 25 years to spend with her, but I also never had to watch her suffer. I can't imagine how awful that truly is, but I can imagine a mother's grief. I am living it now. No matter how different the circumstances of grief might be, no matter in what manner your child dies, our grief is much more alike than it is different. I read that on By the Brooke, and it has stuck with me. Our grief is more alike than it is different.