It’s so hard to say good-bye to yesterday (Boyz ll Men)

I left a really great job yesterday, where I worked with really great people… extraordinary, really. We all work really hard, with our own unique contributions (big and small), to get “our kids” strong(er)… to heal all that can be healed, to the best of our ability… and hopefully, we get to send them home to their grateful families, to carry on with their lives, and experience the gift of growing up. I will miss this special place, and all whom I was lucky enough to meet along the way. I gained so much from you Children’s Specialized Hospital, but best of all, I gained many cherished friends.

Friends make everything better… even when you’re working short-staffed, and have really bad days! I’ve worked with my great friend, Nicole, for over 21 years… we’ve seen it all, and have countless stories to tell about each other… and everyone else! She has been my one constant in every job since the year 2000. She made me a better nurse, and a better person. No matter what, she always sees the silver lining, and works tirelessly to lead by example. I will miss her the most.

It’s so hard to say good-bye. I am terrible at it. I am a cryer, so there is always an abundance of tears, and a red, runny nose, that requires fist-fulls of tissues to soak up the mess. How lucky am I that I got to work with such wonderful people, that it hurts so much to say good-bye to them?

Thank you to my friends at CSH for the beautiful flowers, balloons, and card. I love them… you are all very special to me.

On Monday, I will start a new job, with an old friend (Hi Aileen!), and I will be able to use everything that I’ve learned, in my 30+ years of nursing, to be able to advocate for the underserved, and medically-fragile, pediatric population in my (new) county, in my (new) state, of Delaware. I have spent my entire career committed to caring for children, and this new role that I have accepted will help me to take my expertise one step further, and meet the families where they live, to better assist them in getting the medical help that they need to live a healthy life, and hopefully overcome some obstacles that they may have. 

Wish me luck!

It’s so Hard to Say Good-bye to Yesterday” (Boyz II Men)

… How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The good times that made us laugh
Outweigh the bad… I thought we’d get to see forever
But forever’s gone away
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday… I don’t know where this road
Is going to lead
All I know is where we’ve been
And what we’ve been through… And if we get to see tomorrow
I hope it’s worth all the wait
It’s hard to say goodbye to yesterday… And I’ll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday… And I’ll take with me the memories
To be my sunshine after the rain
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Christine Yarian Perren / Frederick PerrenIt’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Auld Lang Syne

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Eve… not since I lost my grandmother on this day in 1987. We were very close, and I think of her often during this time every year. My “Nanny” loved to celebrate New Year’s Eve; she believed in all of the traditions and old superstitions to start the new year the “right” way, from eating pickled herring for luck, to banging pots & pans outside with neighbors at the stroke of midnight.

This New Year’s Eve is the last day of a really difficult year, one which will never be forgotten. It has been a year of loss and pain, but also one of gratitude for the time that we had with my father, and with friends and family. So many amazing people were there for us during our time of grief, and I don’t think that I will ever be able to repay them…try as I may. For them, I am thankful.

But the hits keep coming… just yesterday I received news about the loss of a close friend of over 30 years, Ann Marie. Her passing was sudden and unpredictable; shocking, really.

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about the “pros & cons” of cancer… some disagreed with me because they didn’t understand that there was anything “good” about such a terrible disease. But I believe it to be true, especially now:

The gift of cancer is that it gives us time to prepare, to let the inevitable sink in. It allows us the opportunity to go down fighting; to try everything that is available, from research studies, to proven protocols. Mostly, it gives us the gift of hope. And when we can see that the hope is fading, and our arsenal of medications are no longer working, it gives us the gift of saying a proper good-bye; saying what needs to be said before it’s too late. The closure that it can bring is the only thing that makes it bearable. Traumatic, sudden accidents or events, such as a heart attack, 9/11, or a car accident, do not give you closure; death is unexpected. No one can possibly be prepared. There are no “good-byes” or “I love you”, or “I’m sorry”…. there are regrets. And to me, that is even worse than a prolonged battle with cancer.

We were great college friends; exhausted nursing students suffering through our exams and clinicals, but still finding time to have fun, dance, and laugh. I would have never gotten through our Psych rotation without her! She was intrigued by it all! She had such a special way about her and she could literally talk to anyone, and be genuinely interested and engaged; I envied that about her. She had a remarkable memory too…she remembered the craziest things about our adventures, most of which I had forgotten. She would randomly post an old photo of us on Facebook just because. Those memories were a surprise gift to remind us of the “good old days” and always brought a chuckle, if not a flash of regret for my fashion choices or tall hair (it was the 80’s, afterall). Below is our college graduation picture… Lisa, Ann Marie, and me. All three of us pursued by the U.S. Navy to join as nurses after college graduation…we were tempted by visions of traveling the world and handome men in uniform, but ultimately we all chose to stay put in NJ… great friends with amazing life-long, cherished memories!

Ann Marie Lisa and me college grad

We even worked in the same hospitals, but I stayed in the world of Pediatrics, while she ventured into Nursing Research. We talked only a few weeks ago… she was checking-in on me to see how Shea and I were coping with the loss of my Dad around the holidays. We only chatted for a short time, but even with both of our busy lives, she made the time to let me know that she was thinking about me. That was Ann Marie… she was a very special person; a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a nurse, and a great friend to many.

She read every one of my blog posts and always left a kind word of support and encouragement to let me know how much she appreciated my writing. This one is for you… this is my way of saying good-bye. I hope you like it Am. You will never be forgotten my friend. Rest peacefully.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind; should auld acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne” (Burns, 1788). 

Reference

Burns, R. (1788). Auld Lang Syne. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne

Saying Good-bye

I have been a nurse for many years, and in that time I have made amazing friends and memories. You tend to form close bonds with those that share common experiences… good or bad. We remember our favorite and least favorite nurses to work with, the best and worst docs, and the patients who remind us why we continue to do what we do. We mostly remember the best and worst shifts, and share stories that make us laugh, cry, or just shake our head in disbelief that that just happened. But eventually many of us move on, and decide to leave jobs that are no longer fulfilling, or the organizational leadership changes into something that you can’t support, or you decide to be brave and try something else…or a combination of the above… and we are faced with saying good-bye.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves“- Viktor E. Frankl

Saying good-bye is hard. I’m terrible at it. It is so final, and the thought of losing one more person in my life that has become important to me, especially after losing my father recently, makes it even harder. Sure, we say we will stay in touch, and see each other soon, and stay connected on social media… but it’s just not the same. It is a loss, and loss is painful.

I have made lifelong friends in all of my jobs… they are the best of the best… but yesterday I had to say good-bye to some amazing people that I have grown to love in only 3 short years. I was leaving for all the right reasons, and I was prepared to say good-bye; I had been gradually talking about my need to leave my job for a few weeks; saying it out loud to reinforce to myself that it was for the best… but that last day was the worst. I cried. A lot. It was embarrassing. No one died, and yet today, I am in mourning. I don’t feel sad about leaving the place, or the job itself (it was a very stressful environment and a helluva commute to be honest); I am sad about leaving the amazing people that I worked with and got to know on a deeply personal level. They are some of the hardest working people I know. It is not easy to work in a huge Children’s Hospital in NYC. It’s a tough place that is indisputable proof of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theory; only those who are able to adapt to an environment, and struggle for existence, can survive and succeed. If only I could transport these amazing people to my new job, close to home, I would do so in an instant. But it’s not possible, and it’s not about me.

I will always have this piece of my heart that smiles whenever I think about you.

GWB