When an angel comes your way by Sabrina McKeithan

As a hospice nurse, we care for all ages, colour and creed. Do not run in reverse when that phone call comes and you find out that you will be caring for a teeny, tiny baby.

You may become overwhelmed with fear, worry- ‘I cannot do this’ or I ‘don’t do babies’ etc. None of us choose what happens in our lives but this is what we do, isn’t it?

Instead, use those resources that surround you so you can prepare yourself for the task ahead; be comfortable and strong in your knowledge and the confidence as a hospice nurse to simply do the best you can.

Sit back and ponder about how the parents are coping with the news that their baby is not going to survive; the overwhelming feelings of being distraught with fear and worry over a loss they may not yet be able to grasp.

They deserve a nurse with a ‘hospice heart’ full of compassion, love, knowledge, empathy, guidance and the ability to sit, be quiet and listen.

Work with them through their fears and worries; ease the path that this journey is taking them on and be present for them and with them. Encourage them to prepare in a way that is manageable for them, making plans, making memories, setting little goals with their wee ones.

I have been blessed with the absolute joy of caring for a teeny, tiny baby who in turn has blessed me beyond measure. She is a precious child of God who deserves her time on this earth to be filled with a loving, safe and secure environment. Ensuring she is comfortable and having all her needs met in the best possible way.

Her parents would not want it any other way. They love their precious bundle more than life itself, they have taught me about true, unfailing love.

Our angel, in her short time, has traveled to the pool, been to the beach and then on to the mountains. Mommy and Daddy are scrapbooking the ‘adventures of Evelyn’. Precious memories of her time on this earth. They have chosen joy to be present in her life and ensured that she is loved every second of every day. They are taking precious photos of each journey.

No matter what comes our way, life is a lesson every given day, grab hold of what seems too difficult because you will be surprised at all the blessings that fill your heart with overflowing joy, gaining knowledge and confidence as you go.

Never be afraid of caring for those who cannot care for themselves. They need ALL of you, even when they are here for a short season on this earth. There is a reason for their being and it is not up to us to question why. Look beyond that and treasure the life lessons that we learn from them every day.

Hospice nursing is not for the faint of heart but it is for those willing to shelve their emotions for the tasks ahead, put them aside (until later) to focus on those that need ALL of us to be present in the now and take each step with the parents as a precious journey begins.

You may experience the purest love you will ever experience when an angel comes your way!

About the author
Sabrina McKeithan has been a registered nurse for over 40 years, of which the past fifteen and a half years have been in the field of hospice, which is where her passion lies. She writes, “Hospice nursing is challenging, which enables a nurse to think outside the box. There is nothing more humbling than assisting a patient to reach their goals of dying how they choose to die.”





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