This I Believe

Essay by haaylienCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2014

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Hayley Smith

Sara Stripling

English Composition Section 65W

11 September 2014

One Final Gift

I believe in compassion, empathy, and humanity. I believe they are an extension of one another. I began my journey into healthcare at 22 years old when I got a job at a local nursing home. In the two and a half years I worked there I learned a lot about life and death, but most importantly myself. When you care for the same people every day, you develop an extraordinary bond with them. They share their lives, their dreams and their fears wholeheartedly. It's hard not to fall in love. There were a few that were like an extended part of my family; I loved them as if they were my own grandparents.

There was one elderly gentleman in particular, Mr. Smith*, whom I took care of for the last year I worked there.

He had an advanced diagnosis of Alzheimer's and was usually very combative, as they can often times be. He'd hardly cooperate with my co-workers but would surprisingly calm down when I came over. His family guessed it might have been because I resembled his late wife when she was a young woman. I felt I needed to help this man. I could sense his suffering and confusion.

A year goes by with me taking care of him every day. Visiting with him, feeding him, sharing stories, laughing, crying, arguing, and loving every second. He talked about his life and his loves with such joy in his eyes. He was a beautiful soul. I was "his girl" and he made my job there every bit worth it. Eventually, I decided to take another job that would help advance my career. I was a bit anxious and sad to go, unsure of...