We all want to believe that we are somebody special, unique or maybe even valued.
When I worked at the hospital in the cancer ward, I never became hardened with watching someone die. I was heartbroken every time. It was my job as a human being to comfort family members, to hold them and tell them how sorry I was.
I had an exceedingly difficult time watching the room get cleaned in less than 15 minutes of the deceased being taken out so a new living patient can be brought in.
Oftentimes, death is a violent affair and not so gentle and peaceful. I kept feeling like the room should be cordoned off for a little while so we could adjust to what just happened. Instead, it was my job to smile, go in and introduce myself to a new patient and to understand this person is an individual, not just a room number.
I have always wanted to take care of people for as long as I can remember. That probably is why I chose the nursing profession and probably why I had so many children. Taking care of people is what I do best.
It is taking care of myself that is something I fail miserably at.
When I lost someone awfully close to my heart and soul, it turned my life upside down. Things were so bad that I had to pack up my family and life and move elsewhere in order to move on because, just like at the hospital, I expected life to just take a pause, a time out, something, anything. But it did not, life continued.
So many of us try to find comfort anywhere we can. Some turn to other loved ones or to God, food, hobbies, anything to try and stop or pause the pain of loss. It is my experience that nothing helps. Time does not heal all wounds, and nothing makes it better.
While I write this article, I am thinking about all the family and friends in Florida who so suddenly and unexpectedly lost someone they cared about. I read about how there was a moment of silence for these people.
What goes through my mind is the individuality of each person who is suffering. Their loss is just as great as the person standing next to them. Losing someone through war or hate (such as the 9/11 terror attacks), cancer, a car accident is a reason. Not a fair one, but something we can put our finger on.
A building unexpectedly falling apart while whole families sleep is just not something we can put our finger on. It just doesn’t make any sense. The amount of pain these people are going through right now is inexplicable. It makes me shake with pity for them. Nothing we can say will help, nothing we can do will make things better, and even time will not heal these wounds.
It is mind-boggling how life just continues to go on and on. I am getting ready to leave for work now and my day will continue to go on. The only thing I have to offer those people in pain is my prayers for relief.
• Christina Elnicki is a mother of five and has been married for 26 years. She lives in Oglesby and works in Spring Valley at a nursing home. She can be reached at email@example.com.