17 Years Later I Still Remember

By Melissa • July 21, 2017

When I was in elementary school my paternal grandfather passed away of a heart attack in the waiting room of an ER. Fast forward a few (maybe a few plus) years to 2000 when I was a senior in high school. My family received the call that my maternal grandfather had a heart attack and was being rushed to the ER. We did what we thought you do when someone has a heart attack; we packed our funeral clothes and headed eight hours to be with our family.

When we arrived, we learned he was post-op and in an ICU so we headed straight to the hospital to visit him. I remember that walk in the hallway leading to the ICU. I remember stepping on the elevator with my parents and the door shutting and taking a little of my oxygen with it. I remember being too afraid to walk in to the ICU to see my grandfather. And, I remember someone coming to me and walking me step by step as to what to expect when I did see him. She told me about the heart shaped pillow that would ease his pain if he had to cough, she explained about the wires and tubes that were coming out of his body, and she gave me the strength I missing and I walked in to see him.

I don't remember what she looked like, her role, or her name. I do; however, remember she cared about a teenage girl who was a little afraid to see her grandfather in the hospital. She had compassion that extended beyond her patients to their families and I will never forget her kindness. It's been seventeen years and yet her simple act made a lasting impression. One I'll never forget as long as my memory sustains. I've never shared this story with my grandfather himself but I may do that this weekend when I visit him (not in the hospital).

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