Kindness During My Worst Moment

Posted February 11, 2015 in Latest News & Insights

ABrent and Brenda with doll

“Executive Roundtable team member Brenda Marshall, PhD shares her very touching story of how kindness made a difference to her during an extremely difficult time, as we continue to mark Random Acts of Kindness Week.” – Glain

It was 6:30 a.m. , September 16, 2006. I’d been up for 24 hrs sitting bedside in a hospital with my younger brother as he battled some weird flu-like illness that had quickly escalated to critical. Hooked up to all kinds of tubes and now on life support he looked different. If he was to survive – the next 2 hours were critical. I stepped away from the beeping machines to collect my thoughts in the corridor. “Live” I kept repeating to myself.

And then I heard it. A scream. Guttural.

In the waiting room the ashen faced Dr. repeated what she’d just said to my sister-in-law. My lovely, kind, gentle brother had died. Without warning, my knees buckled and I collapsed onto the floor. “I don’t understand…he’s only 38… was the only the flu…..” I sobbed.

And then, there were arms around me. A nurse I’d never met before, knelt down and gathered me to her. “We don’t know why these things happen. They just do. And there are no regrets. Okay. It doesn’t matter if you had any arguments or sadness. Never any regrets. He was your brother and you loved him.”

Her kindness in the worst moment of my life is something I will never forget. It’s easy to think that those in our healthcare system are trained to deal with these situations and that perhaps they come easily to them. I don’t think so. In a world where many of us are fearful of giving a hug or saying something that might be misunderstood or misconstrued, this one nurse stepped into my world and reached out with complete and utter compassion. Her words and genuine care in that awful, awful moment, are imprinted on me forever.

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

–Mother Teresa

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  1. This blog post, only five simple paragraphs, is heart wrenching and yet very, very important. Thank you so much for sharing.