Death is when life ends. But what constitutes the end of a person’s life? Well the bible speaks of several types of death. Two of those are physical death and spiritual death, and many times they are connected. Physical death is when our mortal bodies cease to all bodily functions, no heartbeat, no brain function and all reflexes are absent. Spiritual death is when our spirits are separated from the life-giving presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Adam and Eve experience both when they disobeyed God. They first had Spiritual death and then they began to die physically.
I am a Medical Surgical Nurse at Health Central Hospital (Orlando Health System), I have been there for three years and fortunately for me, I have never witnessed death at work. I see death as something that is inevitable, and I personally am not afraid of dying, but I have never been ill or have any chronic conditions, maybe my view would be different if I had, diabetes, hypertension, depression, ESRD or CAD. Till now I have managed to stay “healthy”. One of my favorite bible verses is (Philippians 1:21) For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain (NIV). I am sure that when I die I will go to heaven.
Now, I have never witness death at work, but I have at home. A few years ago on Memorial Day my husband, children (3) and I went to Wekiva Springs for a family outing we had a great day of canoeing, kayaking, swimming and played volleyball, my husband’s favorite sport, it was toward the end of the day and we were unwinding a bit, or so I thought. While playing volleyball suddenly my husband collapsed, became motionless and quickly started turning blue, no response, I started CPR on him right away with the help of a park ranger and someone called 911, but by the time the ambulance and fire department got there my husband’s breathing and pulse had completely ceased. When we got to the ER, the doctor informed me that he died in the ambulance. He was a very young and healthy man, he was a Firefighter and an officer in the Navy, he was fit, he ate healthy and ran five miles daily! That was a very traumatic experience for all of us, not only because it was so unexpected, he was “healthy”. The cause of death was a Myocardial infection. I was traumatized for a very long time and blame myself for not saving him, so the grieving process took a long time. To make my grieving process even worse my mother passed away ten months after my husband of pancreatic cancer, I was also with her at the time of her death.
I think that when it comes to losing loved ones, friends and even patients, it never gets easy, everyone deals with death differently, everyone griefs differently. In my case I think I went into survival mode right away after my husband die. I matured, I became closer to God and have accepted death as a very natural thing that will happen to all of us at some point. Meanwhile, I will embrace life and will encourage my patients to do the same live life to the fullest, we want the dying person to die happy.
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