Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Last week I said goodbye to an AMAZING woman! A very difficult thing to do. I am lucky to have not had to experience much loss in my life, good thing because I am not good at it! But then again who is?!?!
I will do my best to not ramble but nothing is guaranteed.
I met Nagebia Joseph when I first started working at Oakmont about 3.5 years ago. This was during my "old people make me nervous" phase. Yes I know I found the ideal job right? That was my thought too until I met GeBe (and soon to meet many more amazing people). GeBe was is one of those amazing patients that you only wish you had the honor of meeting her in her "prime." She is one of the funniest, selfless, demanding, sarcastic person I have met, and will tell you what to do in a heartbeat! She looked out for every other patient on her unit even though she could barely take care of herself.  Before ever asking for something she would always ask "hows my little man??!!" I would sit with her and show her pictures as he grew daily!
About a month ago was GeBe's birthday. I will never forget the conversation I had with her that day. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEBE! I said as I gave her a hug,( after all no one could ever forget she was 95! She reminded us of her age everyday! ) Instead of a smile I saw a tear come to her eye ( I have a feeling GeBe didn't let anyone see her cry often- she was too strong to let anyone see her weak). Therefor this caught me off guard. "GeBe whats wrong" I asked, "this is a happy day!" She followed with, "I just hope I get to meet Logan before I die." To be honest I don't even remember how I responded to this because I was consumed with guilt! I always said it was too far to bring Logan up to work on the weekend so I felt justified that I showed her pictures every now and then. How could I be so selfish?!?! So a week or two passed by and one day I walked by GeBe's room and she was in bed (keep in mind GeBe NEVER stayed in bed- she always had to be in "her spot" at the nurses desk to make sure she knew all the gossip she could see that everyone was doing their job and all the other residents were being taken care of. Well that was the beginning of GeBe's decline. As requested by her family comfort measures were taken from here they ceased her medications and soon was unable to feed herself or swallow her food. This all happened so fast but GeBe was still GeBe. That Friday was one of the hardest Fridays to leave work. I knew it would be my last time seeing her. I sat by herside for about an hour after work that day. She was in and out of sleep and each time she would wake up she would smile her AMAZING smile. I asked her if she wanted me to bring Logan tomorrow and with what energy she had I could see her light up.
**As I sit here in tears writing this let me just tell you Logan just came over with a baby wipe and handed it to me! Another reason he is the best baby EVER!**
I left GeBe that day with a hug and a kiss and we exchanged "I love you's." Still not comfortable going home, I clocked out and headed home.
I had gotten the number of a co-worker that day and Saturday morning I texted her to see how GeBe was doing. She said she was in and out of sleep but still alert and responding to people. So I got Logan ready and we headed to Oakmont. In the back of my mind I knew it was just to ease my mind and that she may not even realize he was there but I had to bring him to her. They were complete strangers to each other but yet her birthday comment was fresh in my thoughts. It was almost like she knew it was almost her time.
When we got there her Nephew was sitting by her side but unfortunately she hadn't really responded to anyone in the past our of so. Logan was getting restless so we went for a walk and I introduced him to some of my other patients. When we returned to her room I sat next to her and said her name. Her beatiful eyes opened and looked immediately at Logan and she smiled and said "HE's BEAUTIFUL" How I didn't lose it right there I don't know. We stayed about an hour with her as she awoke on and off. As I would rub her leg Logan would lean over and rub her leg to. As we were about to leave she perked up and I told her "We love you" she responded with "love you too" I said Logan blow GeBe a kiss. He leaned over and did just that she smiled as I kissed her forhead and we left.
I drove home that day with a sense of peace.
The next week I sat at GeBe's bedside when I arrived at work, before lunch, and before I left to go home. Each day she faded a little bit more but never seemed "out of it" just less alert each day. Thursday morning GeBe "rallied." A phase i've become familiar with as people perk up right before it is their time. She sat up in a gerichair for about 2 hours in "her spot" and got to see everyone, she was alert with her eyes open and even ate a half a bowl of grits. WHile even though I loved seeing her like this I knew what was soon to come.
The next day was the HARDEST friday to leave work. Normally I jump at the chance to clock out on a friday afternoon and to start my weekend. Today was not the same. GeBe was no longer opening her eyes and responding today, but seemed very at peace and resting comfortably. I sat and talked with her Niece for about 45 minutes and we talked about GeBe and the amazing woman she was. Finally I decided it was time to say what I knew would be my last goodbye to GeBe. I gave her a kiss on the cheek with tears in my eyes and hugged her Niece and said goodbye.
Saturday morning I got the call that GeBe had passed. I felt at peace that she was able to spend her last days in the comfort of her family and all of the residents and staff that loved her. She was an amazing woman and will never be forgotten in my heart.
Rest easy GeBe xoxo!

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