I Want To Wake Up Dead

By Sue Greenberg


I want to wake up dead.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

Just a little hospice nurse humor.

You want to be buried in your leathers with your motorcycle?

Weird you may think. Not to me.

Honoring my patients’ wishes is the cornerstone of my work.

Helping my patient put on her fur coat in the middle of a hot summer day because

she is insisting she must get ready for her trip.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

Symbolic talk is common at the end of life.

Watching my patient stare into the corner of the ceiling

while smiling,

giggling and chattering with words I do not understand.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

       In very fluent English she shares with me she had been talking with her husband and mother who have already passed. They are waiting for her to pass over.

At her request lifting my patient into her car and driving her to the ocean despite the fact she can no longer sit up on her own.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

There are no rules as you are dying.

Mixing my patient’s martini at 9AM and helping him sip it and seeing the smile of aaah cross his face.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

It is 12 Noon somewhere in the world.

Learning to drive my patient’s tractor at her insistence. She wants to prove to me it is harder than driving my motorcycle.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

Laughing and bringing fun and pleasure to her life was an honor as she watched me through her bedroom window.

Speaking at a funeral about my patient’s ‘yellow bus travels’ as he had requested.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

Bringing tears and laughter was his request.

Packing the mailman’s bag full of letters for his last delivery.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

Being present to witness his birth from this life to the next is a rare honor.

Wheeling my patient in her wheelchair into the voting booth the day before her death.

Weird you may think. Not to me.

There are priorities at the end of life and hospice nurses make them happen.

This is all still not weird enough for me to stop my sacred work.


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