muriel says goodbye

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

October 30th, 2012 - muriel says goodbye

To say that our day was emotional would be like saying that it was just raining outside. There was so much more to how we felt, the layers stacked on top of each other and shifted constantly. We were in the eye of the storm, holding our breath, and trying to be brave.

I tried not to think about the future. It was too hard. Instead, I spent the day focusing on loving Matilda with all my might and preparing for her first Halloween. Muriel was our nurse. But she was so much more than that. She made sure we were fed, she helped us smile when we were sad, she reminded us that Parker was happy and safe, but most of all, she had fallen so in love with Matilda. This was the last day of her shift and she would be gone for three days - I watched as she said goodbye to Matilda.

At first, I pretended not to listen. It had become obvious that she needed a few more moments to be with Matilda. She had given her report - it was a good bit after 7pm, but she stayed. She offered to help the night nurse transition. She held Tyler's hand. She disappeared and returned again. So I gave her some space and pretended to keep busy with my costume preparations.

She shut the curtain halfway, washed her hands, put on a gown, and stood next to Matilda's bed. She held her hand and cupped her little head. She got really close and began chitchatting as if they were old friends. "Now Mattie, I gotta go for a few days, so you hang on. I wanna see you and your big eyeballs wide open when I get back. Don't go fussing and causing trouble, just get some rest. Your gonna get a liver, you just wait. It is coming." I now stood right across from both of them, soaking up this beautiful moment. Matilda needed everyone rooting for her. She needed everyone telling her she was going to be okay. She needed to feel the love and strength that I felt when people talked about her.

I stood there feeling so much pride for my little Matilda but also so much sadness. Nurses know, they know when their patients are near the end. She wasn't just saying see you next week, she was saying goodbye.

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