A while ago I came across a letter that was floating around social media from the New York Times. The letter was written by Peter DeMarco after his young wife, just 34 years old, passed away due to a massive asthma attack. He recollects all of the kind, humane ways in which the care team treated his wife, her family, and him during her final seven days in the hospital.
He touches on all of the seemingly “little” ways the doctors, nurses, and staff treated them with empathy and ultimately love. Blankets when they were cold, special visitor requests granted, endless coffee and water, a chair when needed, a shower, a question answered, an explanation given with patience and compassion, and “sadness in [their] eyes”. His letter shows the depth of compassion and kindness that surrounded this family during the hardest time of their lives.
You have to read it to the end though. I haven’t cried like that for a stranger’s situation in a really long time. He not only captures beautifully the essence of what it means to compassionately care for those who desperately need it, he also captures the delicate fragility of life and what it’s like to lose someone you love.
The letter not only serves as a well deserved thank you to all the caregivers who cared for his wife and their family, it also reminds me of the depth of what is at stake in the everyday moments of our lives, as rushed and routine as they can become.
Read it here.