The Hardest Decision: A Military Husband Returns to Tragedy at Home

FebruaryReflectionsIllustrationOur February Reflections essay, “The Hardest Decision,” is by a Amanda Richmond, a nurse based in Arkansas. It’s about a husband facing a drastically changed world upon return from deployment overseas—and a nurse who bears witness. Here’s the opening paragragh. Reflections essays can always be read without a subscription to AJN.—JM, senior editor

That she was still beautiful made her situation all the more tragic. She had little visible damage. An EVD tube snaked out from under her hair and deposited its contents into a drip chamber. Her chest rose and fell at a preselected rate of 14 breaths per minute. iv lines disappeared under her gown and terminated into a central line. On the monitor, her vital signs were flawless.

2016-11-21T13:08:19+00:00 February 12th, 2013|nursing perspective|3 Comments
Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.


  1. Peggy McDaniel February 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Really a wonderful post! It made me cry as it brought back similar memories. Thank you.

  2. Susan Dameron Cote-Eagle February 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Lovely…and so terribly sad. Not sure that I would’ve been able to hold it together as well as the writer did, even after many years of nursing experience. Thank you to all involved with this story – it helps to remind me why I stay in this profession.

  3. spengleSheila Englebardt February 12, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Beautifully written; devastating to read, yet so proud of the example of exquisite nursing care.

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