In this month’s Reflections essay, “Helen’s Family,” a home health nurse remembers a family that was not ashamed to celebrate life around a beloved matriarch even as her death approached.
The author, Cyndy Irvine, understands the crucial and difficult role played by family caregivers, who were “often partners in caring for” her patients:
. . . Some situations were not so difficult for them, perhaps a course of IV antibiotic therapy for osteomyelitis, or a posthospital assessment of medication compliance and mobility issues; others were more daunting, such as the last stages of an incurable disease.
The timing of Helen’s illness was not convenient—the march of family responsibilities carried on in the lives of her children, yet they recognized her final weeks and days as a sacred part of her life, and of their own.
Every family has a style, an energy, a way of relating or not relating. The author finds something special in this family’s efforts to fill “Helen’s” home with laughter, beauty, and a kind of celebration. The essay is rich in sensory details, and pervaded with a poignant awareness of the gift of life, even when it’s most fragile and in question. To read this one-page essay, which will be free until February 24, click here.