One of my colleagues recently died.
When I started at my current hospital, she was my main preceptor. She was a stickler for getting things done correctly – no shortcuts. When I would come across a patient or apparatus that I was unfamiliar with, all I wanted was for her to tell me what to do or show me how to operate it, but every time she insisted on having me look it up.
I came to appreciate the wisdom in that.
We worked together for several years. She eventually went to a different department, I started working per diem, and we didn’t see each other much anymore. But we’d run into each other here and there over the years.
She was very kind. She wasn’t the type that was into gossip, but she did always want to know what was going on with you.
I saw her about a week before she died. Everyone knew her time was short, including her. Yet when you walked into the room, her face would light up and you’d get the impression that she was thinking, “Ah, just the person I was hoping to see.” She handled the whole thing so much more gracefully than the rest of us.
I was thinking last night about how she simply isn’t in the world anymore. And how weird that is. I feel like we are all connected by invisible strings to the people we know, and when one string is cut, even the thinnest one, it throws you off balance.
I’m feeling a bit off-kilter for sure.