When I entered the hospital yesterday, I was fully aware of the memories it held and would bring back.  They start 65 years ago when I stood on the street and my mother waved to us from her hospital room window after having my sister.  Children weren’t allowed inside back then.  My memories with this building flooded my mind all day.

I had a minor surgery here when I was in high school

Two of my children were born here

My daughter had surgery on her shoulder after being hit by a car at college

Seven of my grandchildren were born here

My father and mother were here with various surgeries and tests through the years

My mother died here

My husband had cancer surgery and some chemotherapy here

We’ve had numerous visits to the emergency room with many family members

My son was diagnosed with cancer here and pronounced dead here 10 years later

I had two surgeries here a couple of years ago

The list goes on and on and I can’t even focus on the other friends and family who have been here at various times in their lives

Walking the halls for even a second brings back so many emotions, both good and bad, but all strong, overwhelming even.  Yesterday, I went to the surgical waiting room to sit with my daughter while her husband had cancer surgery.  Family and friends gathered throughout the grueling day and they were so important to help us through the hours of waiting.  The waiting is always the hardest.  Sharp contrast to our family waiting for new babies to be born on that happier floor.

The Hospital is an amazing place, where worried families wait and worry and try to understand medical language and diagnoses and friends come to visit hospital rooms to show love and encouragement and support.  There are volunteers who compassionately help you through the procedures and to find your way through the winding corridors.  The medical staff has always been incredibly wonderful to my family in every conceivable circumstance.

The Hospital is a place of fear, of hope, of excitement, and of healing.

The Hospital is a place where the world outside keeps going while your life stands still.

You wear your best walking shoes just to get wherever you’re going from the parking lot.  You try to remember where you parked this day.  I’ve stood in the parking lot a few times so exhausted that I could not remember what floor I had left the car on, trying to keep back tears of frustration.  My daughter was smart enough yesterday to take a picture of her parking place with her phone so she would remember.

You learn where all the bathrooms, snack machines, and cafeteria are located and how to find the chapel if you need a quiet moment.  You become a part of the big machine that is helping your loved one, a part of the process.

And, life outside goes on.

I guess there is a comfort in the familiar, although I am in disbelief when I start to remember so very many visits there.  I’m grateful I live a short distance away and have such resources available to my family.  I’m grateful for all the wonderful doctors, nurses, and every member of the staff who are so encouraging and make it as easy as they can for patients and families.  I’m thankful for the times we live in where medical procedures are advancing forward at such rapid rates and we can benefit by these new discoveries.

I’m thankful for family and friends, who give us hugs and shoulders to lean on and listen to us and bring food and love and care for us.

Life goes on outside, but The Hospital is always there, waiting for us when we need it.  I hope you have a place like our hospital when you need it.  The Hospital is where I go when my life stops for a moment and then it goes on, changed in a new way each time.