Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dear Angela

Dear Angela,

I would never know how your own family feels right now. I just know this is a difficult time for them.

It shouldn’t be like this that our Elmhurst ED work family would see each other again. Not at your funeral. Old familiar faces returned to pay respect to you, one of our own. There was no joy at the unexpected reunion, just profound shock and melancholy at such a sad occasion.

It was tough to say Goodbye. You’re gone too soon. I have always thought of you as fierce, vibrant, and invincible. The soldier and the nurse; you’re twice a hero. I am heart-broken.

Wasn't it just yesterday when you came for your interview for an LPN position? I was impressed at how articulate and confident you were. Through all these years, you showed your strength, tenacity, and courage to finally get your RN license. As a soldier, as a nurse, and as a union representative, you were one tough cookie. I salute you. I just wish I had seen you one more time. Isn't it tragic that we always want to have that one more day to remember someone special by?

Someone said “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal”. I have many fond memories of you, Angela. You were an excellent nurse, a straight-shooter (no pun intended), firm yet compassionate, and meticulous yet with a wicked sense of humor. You were there in our parties, baby showers, retirements, birthdays, and summer picnics. I heard you suggested a summer picnic before your untimely death. Maybe you missed the fun and games; maybe you longed to play with your work family.

Your Elmhurst “peeps” showed up en force, even those of us who have left to work elsewhere came back to share the grief. The White Rose Nightingale tribute was a poignant homage to your tremendous contribution to the department. After the nurses read the words to the poem "She was There", they gently laid a rose on your reposed body. It was a touching image, especially with the nurses dressed in white and the military guards standing in attention next to your casket. You have made a difference in people's lives many times over, Angela.

We've lost too many through the years. Kathy, Angel, Beckley, Ruthie, Siony from PAC, Derrick, Timmy, Kettly, Jennifer, Phyllis, Brad, and Dr. Neil Oster. There were two more who we lost, their names forgotten but their absence was nevertheless mourned. One was a new nurse who was a victim of domestic violence. Another one was a PA who took his own life. With every passing, our hearts break not only for the family but also for the co-workers they left behind.

The ED is a challenging place to work at, but it has certainly brought us together. We struggled, we saved lives, we laughed, and we cried. We grieved for every single co-worker we lost. In the process of keeping our heads above water, we became a family. Nurses, doctors, PCTs, PAs, clerks, transporters, and many more. And Elmhurst, our home.

And now you... You will be missed. More than you will ever know. My deepest sympathy to the Palmer family.