I went to a memorial service for my friend John’s mom a few days ago. John did the eulogy. He said at the very start that there should really be two eulogies.

Eulogy #1: His mom, Sandy, was a children’s hospice nurse for 35 years. Full stop.

Sure, there was much more to her — and John covered that territory beautifully in Eulogy #2 — but that single sentence sums up a life well-lived, in service to others in their darkest hours of need. Most of us wouldn’t last a day in that gig. The fact that she did it for 35 years surely has earned her the express ticket to heaven.

Not every nurse is as kind and caring as Sandy was. But every day, in hospitals, nursing homes, care centers — and even on battlefields — there are nurses who answer the call. Usually for long shifts, typically for less pay than folks who don’t have to deal with life-and-death situations.

From a baby’s first breath to a grandparent’s final breath, nurses heed the call to provide care and comfort. It’s messy. It’s taxing. It can be harrowing. They deserve our praise (and a raise!).

(The obituary for Nurse Sandy is here. Next time you’re having a bad day at work, read it over. You’ll gain a new perspective on what a “bad day” really is. )

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