I've worked at my present assignment for 14 months. I started there when I was 4 and 1/2 months pregnant so many people, residents and coworkers alike, know me as someone with a baby. As previously mentioned, the residents from the floor where my clinic is located are especially interested in mine and my baby's wellbeing. Some ask for pictures, others even remember his name.
Possibly because I was pregnant and all the hormones made me nice and mellow, or maybe because motherhood made me that way, I made friends with some of the residents on that floor. With one of them I became particularly close in the last 3 months because she fell and broke her hip (non operable fracture) and from a very independent classy woman she became a dependent yet still fisty and even defiant and still very classy woman.
This woman passed away on Thursday. It was expected. Her last couple of days seemed difficult but she was a fighter til the end. She probably died wearing her pretty matching PJs but sadly on the day she passed away I came to work late- 2 hours after she left this world.
By nursing home standards, she had lots of possessions- clothes, jewelry, books, her art, pictures, etc. She had no known family so all of her possessions were either given away to other residents or thrown out. I took one picture she drew and a collage she made-a tangible even if distant reminder. I said a prayer for her and when I found out that her funeral would be on Monday I thought to myself that I'll attend.
Come Monday and I find out that many people from work cannot attend the funeral because, for some bizarre reason the nursing home administration decided that there must be a lavish St. Patrick's Day celebration. And her resident's friends were not allowed to attend because there were issues with ambulettes, etc., etc., etc. But I thought to myself I can still go, I heard the funeral is local, 15 minutes drive from work.
The time flew uncharacteristically fast for a Monday morning. Before I knew it, I had to attend the daily morning report and hard as I tried, I couldn't find one of my friendly coworkers who'd tell me the address of the funeral home. So I thought I'd find her after the meeting, get the address and go then.
But what was I thinking?! Monday morning reports are typically longer and more boring because they include 3 days instead of 1. I left it a bit early but not early enough. By the time I found out the address of the funeral home it was 5 minutes before the funeral was scheduled to begin.
And that's when I felt horrible, really horrible. My procrastination, disorganization, unfound optimism that I can go any place in 10 minutes or less...Unlike all the other empoloyees who were denied permission to go, I made my own schedule. I came and went as I pleased. Yet, I failed my friend. I didn't make it to her funeral with no good excuse. I just missed it.
In another hour, after someone who attended the funeral came back I realized just how much I've blundered. There were only three people at the funeral- my friend's social worker, her nurse, and the rabbi.
I'm deeply sorry my friend. I hope you rest in peace.