Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Circle of Life

I shouldn't be surprised. Time has certainly moved along. Suddenly the reality of what that means is catching up to me.

You are born, you live, you die. Sounds like a simple process, but when you are intimately involved in it, that 'live' part sometimes connects with 'die' a little more poignantly than you expect.

In the last 2 weeks four long term clients have died. They touch my life, and I theirs, only briefly in the grand scheme of things, but some of those 'touches' are very significant because they have put their trust in myself and our hospital to care for the creatures they love very much. Sometimes that makes for some incredibly intimate connections. And suddenly, those people are gone from my life forever. I know that their loved ones grieve for them far more intensely than I, but I still find myself grieving a bit. I guess I am surprised by that. In discovering that I am grieving, I am realizing that these people have come to mean something to me.

In a similar vein, I am now seeing pets that I recall so fondly meeting as babies, getting old and dying. Some of the goodbyes I have said recently have hurt nearly as much as saying good bye to my own pets. As these elderly animals come in for their last visit, I have found myself struggling to be professional and complete the task set before me. It is not my job to cry and be upset when someone else's dog dies. It is my job to be compassionate and to be strong and allow the client to have as good an experience as one can have when you have to say your last good bye. Recently, that has proved to be very difficult. An interesting new experience for me to learn from.

And so the circle of life continues.

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