8 days. That's how long I knew you. I wasn't supposed to be working the day that I met you. I texted the charge nurse that day saying I would come in if they needed help. I received a text around noon asking if I was still willing to come in. I said yes. I got there at 2pm and was told that you were coming from another hospital in a different city.
I waited for you for 3 hours, thinking about how late I would end up being at work depending on how long it took you to get here. When you finally arrived I got you settled and I told you there were going to be a lot of people that came into your room in just a few minutes. I told you they would be asking you questions and examining you. I could tell you were scared. I could tell that you had started to realize that whatever was going on with your body was a bigger deal than you or your family had expected.
You answered all of the doctors questions with grace even if another doctor had just asked you the same thing five minutes ago. When everyone was done examining you and asking you questions, it was just you and I left in the room. I talked to you for a little while, about everything other than what was going on medically. I asked you about your life and we bonded over video games.
At one point you stopped thinking about what you were in the hospital for and you made a joke. I got to see you smile a real and genuine smile. It was the first and last smile I saw in those 8 days. Day by day you got sicker. You started becoming less of yourself due to your illness. I knew that you were frustrated by that. I asked you if you could tell that you weren't acting yourself, you said yes. I explained to you that it wasn't your fault. I wanted you to know that no one blamed you for the way you had began to act. I had one day off after we had that conversation.
When I came back to work you had gotten even sicker, and you weren't yourself at all anymore. Your illness had taken over your body completely. Your mom apologized to me that day. I told her that there was nothing to be sorry for, because really on your end there wasn't. I was sorry. Sorry she had to see you go through this. Sorry I couldn't do anything to make it easier for you.
A few days after that, I was walking by your room and your dad called out to me and started sobbing on my shoulder. He told me that you were gone, but he wanted me to know I was one of your favorite nurses. I did my best to hold myself together. I knew it’s what you would do. It’s what I saw you doing those 8 days. You watched your family fall apart around you, while you remained as strong as you could for them, despite the fact that you were the one whose health was in jeopardy.
The day that I waited to meet you all I had on my mind was what time I'd be at home. The day you passed it was like time didn't even exist. I stayed with you until the last possible moment. I thought only of the first day I met you as I was saying goodbye. I can only hope you are at peace and that if you ever remember any part of those 8 days, it was the one where you smiled.