Saturday, January 22, 2011

Goodbye, Kettly

Emergency Department... a place where we see deaths up close and personal. The ED staff who choose to stay do so because they love the rewards that come from saving lives. We are hardened (crazy) souls who have accepted life's realities. But it is difficult when you lose one of your own.

Today, we said goodbye to Kettly.

Through life’s ups and downs, Kettly managed to smile her way into her fellow nurses’ hearts. She reveled in the deep friendships that blossomed amidst stressful times in the ED. As she struggled with illness, she persevered and impressed her hospital family with her indomitable spirit of resilience and tenacity. Her easy wit and sense of humor brightened our days as we all commiserated with each other at the end of each day. Kettly cared for her patients, even as she needed caring herself. She offered hope.

It is difficult to imagine that the once-vibrant nurse who delegated cooking duties like a drill sergeant for the holiday party is no longer with us. Could she have been preparing us for her untimely passing by creating special memories of friendships and by showing us the value of team work? Did she realize that the new triage nurses would remember the words of encouragement she gave them on her last day in the unit?

As she held her family in her heart, she reserved a special place for her hospital family.

Last night, we gave Kettly a White Rose tribute and showed our appreciation by honoring her with our Nursing flag. The nurses, all dressed in white, stood en masse in solidarity with a few of our colleagues who struggled to read lines from a poem written by another nurse:

To witness humanity—its beauty, in good times and bad, without judgment,
She was there.
To embrace the woes of the world, willingly, and offer hope,
She was there.
(“She Was There” is copyrighted by D. Jaeger)

Kettly, we will miss your carrot cake, your de-boned turkey, and your words of wisdom. But most of all, we will miss the nurse who showed us quiet strength and resolve through adversity. We will miss your regal presence.