Words matter. Silence, they say, is golden, but we all know that words are important. They can hurt or they can heal. They can end a relationship or they can be the catalyst for a new one. There are a few words and phrases that when spoken are carved upon your heart for eternity. You remember where you were when you heard them, you can vividly recall what was happening around you, and you rarely ever forget who it was who said them to you.
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I was petrified. Tears streaming down my face I had just been raced into the operating room after hearing the words, “There is no heartbeat. We have to do an emergency c-section, it is our only hope of saving the baby.” I remember what seemed to be total chaos swirling around me. Medical personnel was calling out requests and demands. I remember yelling in pain when the catheter was inserted and someone apologizing. In my head, I kept thinking that this was the end. And then, someone said my name. I can hear his voice even now, it was the calm in the midst of the terror. I looked up and all I could see was a mask and his eyes looked down at mine. It was the voice of the anesthesiologist. He introduced himself and he said these words, “I am going to take good care of you.” I wanted to mutter, “Please just take care of my baby,” but before I could say anything I was out.
When I woke up life changed dramatically as I learned I had given birth to a baby boy but that he did not survive. In the weeks and months that followed I only remembered snippets of those traumatic days. But, I never forgot that voice and those simple kind words. Three and a half years after that morning in the operating room, I was admitted to the hospital to wait for our third child to be born. I asked if my chart could be reviewed to find out who he was. I desperately wanted to meet him, thank him, and tell him what a difference he made for me on this journey.
A few weeks later there was a knock on my door. A familiar voice spoke my name. He came in and stood by my side as I shared with him how the simple words that he spoke and how the kindness and care in his tone made a tremendous impact on my life. I was in a room full of total strangers but he called me by name and that simple assurance gave me peace that my baby and I were not just a statistic, we were people who mattered.
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He had taken another position in the hospital not long after I was his patient. He no longer had direct patient contact. In fact, he shared that rarely did he ever have a real conversation with a patient because he was always putting them to sleep. He expressed gratitude that I wanted to meet him and share that his job really did matter and really did have an impact on someone’s life and journey. He said it was a beautiful closure to that part of his career. For me, it was a beautiful moment of peace in the midst of loss.
Our interaction was brief but will forever leave a lasting impact on my heart. I am more mindful of brief encounters and how they impact another’s life. I also have a greater understanding of how important it is to express thanks to another. Gratitude is a gift my son has given me. What gifts has your child offered you?
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