Nine years ago, I remember saying good-bye to one of the most special women in my life—my grandmother whom I called “Mimi.” The family all sat around her bed in the dimly lit room. We shared in the final moments of laughter and tears all together for the last time. When it came time to leave, I drew closer to Mimi’s side, saying my final words to her. At this time, her face filled with recognition and delight but still being unable to speak my name.
A couple of weeks later, I received the call from my father that my grandmother had gone to be with our heavenly Father. As the family gathered for lunch after the funeral, we began remising in the good memories with Mimi. One of my favorite stories was observing and learning about Mimi’s interactions with complete strangers. She could strike up a conversation with anyone and, within ten minutes or so, return to us with a synopsis of the individual’s life journey—where they were from, what they did for a living, inquiring about their family background, etc.
Today, as I reflect on this memory, I also realize: Isn’t that what we do in our daily interactions with patients and families? We are placed in a position to establish a sudden bond with the patient and/or family, listening to their expressions in these crises and walking with them in the journey.
After having observed this multiple times in our roles with each other as well as how we relate to those whom we serve, I am aware that one common theme exists: relationships. Relationships bring significance to us as caregivers in how we connect with our patients and further help them connect with their loved ones. Relationships bring us fulfillment with each other in our roles on the medical team—supporting, encouraging, and challenging us to offer the best care. Overall, relationships are the “glue” for living; they hold us together when our world is being turned upside down.