Warning: This story will probably make you cry, or at least a tad emotional. I'm not exaggerating either.
Months ago when I first entered my job at the nursing home I knew I would make bonds with the people I took care of, but I honestly had no idea how quickly and how strong they would become. One resident in particular I bonded with right away right away....
I'll call her "Darla".
Darla was smart, sarcastic, and was quick to judge whether people were worth her time. I instantly liked her. Everyday I took care of her we learned a little more about one another. She asked about the NCLEX as I prepared and my ever growing belly. I learned that she used to be an RN before her health and body failed her. Knowing she was a former nurse I respected her and treated her like a peer, knowing that not everyone did since her physical state had long changed.
One day I came back into work and her room was empty. I hadn't worked for a couple of days and had learned that during my days off Darla unexpectedly had a decline in her health. She was sent to the hospital where she then unexpectedly died. Just two days ago I had left her room in good spirits, making her laugh, and telling her how I would see her after my days off. Now she was gone. No goodbye, no signal that it was coming, just gone. Darla's room was eerily exactly how it always was, but she was never coming back.
A couple days later her family came in to collect her things. Their eyes were heavy and darkened with unexpected grief. I sat at the nurse's station finishing charting since it was the end of the shift and figured that it was best to let them collect Darla's things without interruption. Grief has never been my strong suit.
Then, as I sat with my head tucked towards the chart, a woman came around the desk clutching a little pink gift bag. Instantly a knot formed in my throat. Of course the bag was meant for me.
The woman asked me "Are you the nurse that just graduated and is having a little girl?" I nodded my head as she pressed the bag into my hands. When I glanced from the bag to her I could see tears forming in her eyes. A stinging began at the corner of my own eyes indicating the presence of my own tears.
"She was making this for you..." the woman trailed off and took in a big gulp of air. "She was making this for your little girl as a surprise to give to you just before you went on maternity leave. Only her mother new about it."
I just looked at her with my mouth slightly ajar. Tears were officially welling up in my eyes. The woman leaned towards me as if to usher me to open it and see the gift. I gently peeled back the tissue paper and revealed a little knitted ensemble.
"Its not quite finished. There are a few buttons missing..." The woman added quietly. I just looked at her and hugged her tightly. It was perfect, even with a couple of unfinished buttons. How Darla made this in her free time without me finding out or seeing a stitch of knitting was amazing.
She truly was an amazing woman. I am truly blessed to care for her and people like her. And my child is blessed to be so loved. Life is freakin' amazing, isn't it?