Part 11: Radiant Nurse

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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About Letters Never Sent Series

A collection of never-sent, personal responses to real people in Martha's life, profound events and little encounters alike.


You were lovely in your nurse-white, coming in my empty room. Really empty, having lost my first: years-waited-for, prayed-for baby.

Isolated from the other mothers, this non-mother knew all too well what was happening down the hall, the tiny cries of life against my silence of death…the other nurses avoided my room of such dark melancholy.

But you came.

You sailed into my room with a joy that would not acknowledge the funeral of my dream. You talked about the glorious day, my bright flowers.  You smiled, wide and full, though it wasn’t returned, and that is hard. You would not match your gloom to mine but boldly made me take your glow. You were still in training, fresh with untried youth.

How could you be so wise as to know NOT to talk about loss, death, grief – but about life, future, color, sun? How could one so young know the power of one grand smile, one word – “beautiful” – poured into that dismal room? How could you understand that the greatest kindness was to grasp my weak hand and pull me your way, refusing my despair? Make my eyes see what you saw, your hope, your joy?

I made no sign of responding. I don’t think you needed one. You skipped out as you had skipped in…brightly, happily.  It had taken but a moment.  Strangely, I was changed. Slowly I began to rise and hope. I shook myself a bit and decided to get up and live. God had shared one child of His with me for a few months. He could give another.

And now, happy years later (overfull with three gifted children), if that loss crosses my mind, it is your image that comes crystal clear, stronger than the memory of body-pain and heart-sorrow…

And my sense of mystery lingers.

I wanted to thank you but I never saw you again, nor anyone remotely like you who walked in such power of glowing hope and the unsaid pledge of a future.

And I wonder…
were you an angel?

Copyright © 1986 Martha Kilpatrick, Letters Never Sent

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