I am not sure I can put into words how proud of you I am. When you qualified I was proud, I told anyone who would listen how my sister had taken on the most amazing job ever. A nurse, someone to look after the elderly when they are sick. You started nursing so you could be a midwife. Then the incident happened during your training and you decided midwifery wasn't for you. After that, many would have hung up their fob watch, but you didn't give up you just changed disciplines.
You thought about paediatrics, but you went into elderly care because you couldn't handle seeing children become ill. It takes a strong person to admit their limitations. Elderly care was your true calling. We know that now.
When our grandmother got sick, you nursed her with the same love and compassion you showed everyone. How lucky, I thought, those elderly were to have you with them. The families comforted by your knowledge and caring ways. Never flapping, always calm.
Do you remember when that woman collapsed in front of us in the shopping centre? You went to her, calmed her and the family. You made her comfortable, diagnosed the broken hip and helped her to the ambulance. You then handed her over like the professional you are. I thought I was proud of you then, that feeling has nothing on now.
For the last year, you have cared for those with Covid. Your ward changed to the main Covid ward in the hospital. Having stepped away from young people dying, you found yourself nursing those your age. Watching people our age gasping for breath. Being the only family they could have. You reassured the families, not able to visit and held the hand of those dying. All whilst wearing that restrictive protective clothing, that was when you could get hold of the equipment. Not that any of it stopped you from doing your job. You celebrated every win and cried for every loss.
You have dealt with unmentionable horrors every day. Your anxiety has grown as you have worried for your patients, your colleagues and your family. Every day returning home wondering whether you were giving this deadly virus to your loved ones. Then the unthinkable happened and you got Covid. Yet still, you alleviate your families fears, telling us you were going to be okay. Downplaying your symptoms so we didn't worry.
You have answered all our stupid questions over the last year. Some about the virus, others about every other illness we felt. When my daughter went into casualty, you changed your scrubs, came down and supported us and then returned to the ward. My daughter gets a cough, you answer the phone and put my mind at rest.
At home, you worked all night and homeschooled your three all day. In between this you made amazing lockdown birthdays for them and celebrated ours remotely. Where the hell do you get your energy from? Your children have thrived in lockdown, all whilst you go to the most horrific work conditions most nights. You supported our mum when we lost our grandmother. You have supported all of us. You have supported strangers. All through the most horrific of years.
The thing that makes all nurses amazing. There are thousands of women around the globe, doing the same thing. Countless women and men have put their own lives second to helping strangers. Whether they are nursing, delivering food, or any of the many other professions that have kept a planet of people living, despite a pandemic.
You are a sister, a mother, a nurse and my woman of a lifetime.
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