Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Yesterday, I received an email from a woman named Brooke. Brooke is a nurse in the NICU that Joshua was in.

 When I opened the email, I never expected to read the words that I read. We emailed back and forth, and this is the most powerful part of our series of emails.

If you haven't done so, please read this first to better understand this email- but be warned, the link and this post below will be emotional and hard to read.


I just read your blog post about when Joshua died.

It was me. I was the nurse you were referring to.

I need you to know something about that day. I pray that it will not bring you any more pain than you have been through, but it might be information that you want.

I heard the commotion. We run towards the noise. That is what we do. We are trained to deal with it and we are carefully trained with what to do.

I saw some of my hero's of the unit working on your baby. There were many of them. In a code the newer girls come and hang out around the edges to act as runner for supplies and to make phone calls. The seasoned vets take over and instruct. I am somewhere in the middle of that good and useful pecking order.

 But, when I saw the calibur and number of nurses working on your son I knew that my hand on nursing skill was not needed, so I began to look around for how else I could help.

And I saw your face.

You were collapsed side ways in a chair outside the window. You were pure panic and you had your phone in your hand like a weapon.

 My mothers heart felt your mother heart.

 I have to say that I had stopped by your room before to admire the pictures. I am a hobby photographer and I adored the images you have from Joshua's hospital stay.

 I knew when I saw your face that some one needed to take care of you. Watching a code is very traumatic. Something I would never want to see on my own children.

So I lead you to the quiet room.

You didn't want to leave the window area of Joshua's room, but the shear number of medical staff kind of forced you to.

You sat on the couch and you talked to your husband.

 I watched numbers go up for a little while, I had a little hope. But then the nurses eyes told me it was not going to work.

 I came back and forth several times.

At one point you said one of the bravest things I have ever heard.

Later, when the staff was reviewing what had happened I said that you were one of the truest mothers I have ever seen. You were talking to your husband and you said, "When do we stop?" Before we (as a staff) begged you to.

You are such a true and selfless mother that you knew Joshua was ready to go. I have seen lots of families say good bye, but never seen it done so... well/right/selflessly. At that point the "runners" came and told me to get you in there to hold your baby.
What I do as a nurse is part of my identity as a person. My job can have lots of immediate saddness related to it. I cry. With my whole soul.

When your son died that whole entire unit was a mess. I saw 30 year vets cry. We were all just so sad for you and your family.

I am so sorry. But know that your little man and your family is still remembered in our unit.




Erin said...

She's right, you know. You are one of the truest, bravest, most selfless mothers out there. Not many people know when to say good-bye but you did and I know your faith helped you. And I think because of who you are and who Joshua was, that's why you are rememebred. You both touched many one will forget that.

sidsmom2mickey said...

Jill, that is the most touching, beautiful email. Something to treasure. I agree with Erin, you and little(bigger than life)Joshua, will be remembered for many years to come.

We remember him with you, we won't forgot his precious life, nor the depth of your grief at his passing.

Sending you love and hugs from Arizona,

sidsmom2mickey said...


Can't see past the tears well enough to edit, I guess!

Amy said...

Wow, I should not have read that here at work. Brooke is an angel here on earth.

Hope's Blog said...

Brooke is an angel and you are the best mommy around. That was hard to read...thank you for the warning. You all remain in my thoughts and prayers.

I hope you have a happy, healthy New Year!

Lisa said...

Jill, that is beautiful.
Bless Brooke for reaching out to you.

Stefenie said...

Tears. What a beautiful person she is for reaching out to you and being brave enough to share her heart with you from that day. Some of the most amazing people in this world are nurses. The vast majority of them are in the right field and we are so blessed to have them take care of our children.

Rainy said...


Chris, Diana, Elena, and Sadie said...

Dealing with death is part of nursing. I walked the last road with many families in the nine years I worked in critical care. But to be so touched by a family that I would feel inclined to contact them after their loss is something that didn't occur very often. I know that Brooke must have meant every word she wrote to you, because as a nurse she wouldn't have bothered finding and e-mailing you if Joshua's life didn't have an impact on her. If you didn't matter to her. Your life and Joshua's story matter to hundreds of people, and I'm so glad that she reached out to you to let you know how much. I hope that having her story will help you continue to heal.

Still praying,

Carrie Flynn said...

What a special gift of memories. <3

Sara said...

This was so touching.
You have to wonder (is it just a job to them?)
I think of this email as a blessing, to know that he wasn't just work for them, he mattered, YOU as his Mother mattered, you weren't background to them. He wasn't "a code" to them.
I agree with Diana, I too hope that her story brings continued healing for you.

Cuddles and Chaos said...

What a touching email. You are an amazing/real momma.
Please thank that nurse for me for what she did for you. When my middle child (the baby at the time) was hospitalized and not doing well, I was blessed to have some very special nurses watch out for me. As the mom my only concern (like yours) was my child and I was so thankful that there were some "angels" watching out for me because some of those days were the darkest in my life.

Sending you hugs and prayers. I'm so thankful that you are honest with emotions and thoughts. I hope that the little ones have had fun with their grandparents and that you are taking care of yourself.


The Real Life of a Red Head said...

Her words have brought so much healing to me. I have read her email about 100 times now. To hear her side of the story and to hear her thoughts on it just help remind me that we did everything we could for him. We ALWAYS had his best interest at heart- even when that meant saying good bye and starting the most painful journey of our life. Every decicision we made for him was out of nothing but love for him- this was no exception.

I'm so thankful that Brooke reached out to me. I feel like part of my broken heart has been mended.

Ausmerican Housewife said...

Oh to hear and know personally that your son's life touched the team of doctors/nurses/caregivers is wonderful! I am so glad you got this Jill! :D

When Evan was in nicu, his day nurse Penny had to excuse herself several times. Once she made it out of his room, she completely lost it. My mother in law saw this and chased her down with a huge bearhug. The nurse that was in charge of disconnecting Evan had never been in charge before and she had to leave to compose herself too. To know that they have a hard time dealing with the death of yet *another* baby, especially one so hoped for and loved as Evan was/is, was incredibly good for me. They don't see my baby as another baby, they see him as my son who deserved to live and come home with us but for whatever reason (known only to Evan and God) he gets to grow up in Jesus' arms instead of ours.

Anonymous said...

How beautiful.

What a special woman to reach out that way. To think of how many patients she takes care of, and she cares so deeply to want to connect with a broken hearted mother, not knowing how you would respond. She is most definitely an angel walking among us.

I remember reading your original post and thinking "Thank goodness for that nurse". Just knowing you were at the hospital without Shane or anybody to stand by you through it, God sent Brooke. And what a blessing she was.


Wayne and Sue Rasmussen said...

Hard to read? Yes, but so worth it. I am so thankful that God moved Brooke's heart to contact you. That e-mail is so special. I know you will always treasure it, and for that matter, your other children will too in years to come. Thank you for sharing it.
"Father, thank you for using Brooke in the continued healing of Jill and Shane. Thank you for your love and grace in their lives as they continue to trust you. Bless them. Amen"

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