Rebecca Turley, a hospice nurse from Ohio, is not stranger to death. Providing care for terminally ill patients is her job. And the exposure to death and the rituals that surround dying in our culture can make death seem routine
Yet there are times when even those who are most familiar with the end of life get caught off guard. Back in July, Turley was driving home from a hospice shift. She’d been present for someone’s passing, and felt compelled to talk about life.
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“Life is so short,” Turley said. “When you work with death and people who are dying every day, you kind of become immune to it, but there are always a few patients that really get me.”
When the man she’d been nursing took his last breath, Turley was there. She describes this as a“magical moment.” For him, the pain and the troubles are over. Yet his loved ones and friends have to live with the hole left in their lives.
Turley’s job must seem so foreign to most of us. Hospice is brought in only when patients are near the end of their lives. And it isn’t just the elderly. Turley has worked with terminally ill children, and people who were surprised by diagnoses that gave them just weeks or days to live.
“If you have a family member you have been fighting with, if you are unhappy in your job… life is so so short,” Turley says. “You should live life to the fullest, maintain good relationships, don’t stress about the little things.”
“There is construction everywhere, a piece of my car is falling off, but I don’t care. I look like crap and I’m posting a video on Facebook, but I don’t care because maybe somebody needed to hear this today. Life is so short and just enjoy it.”