Hurry up! But take your time…

Sep 19, 2023
When this blogger's mum passed, the nursing home moved fast to remove any trace of her mother. Source: Getty

Is this in your memoirs too? This is a tale of some baggage in our family tree. It was a while ago now. My mother had been admitted to her nursing home. That was her forever home, where she was not doing so well. The dreaded phone call came from a family member. A kindly geriatric nurse informed us that our mother was not expected to survive the day.

Mum’s passing was peaceful, she quietly went to sleep forever. She was surrounded by her grown sprogs, (or at least some of them), and her adult grandchildren. One last kiss, goodbye. Until we meet across the rainbow bridge. Finality, or a journey that continues, beyond a veil of mystery. It’s up to the individual’s beliefs. 

Mum’s family were sharing this contemplative time. A brace of geriatric nursing staff entered, sharing empathy. “Never mind,” the team leader said. Both nurses looked fixedly at their watches. My sister and her husband had thoughtfully brought both their large cars and a couple of strong sons. 

Grief got sidetracked in about half an hour. There was much scurrying up and down the stairs. First went Mum’s own armchair, as well as all the creature comforts, like her personal television, plus the remote control. Yes, these had been her treasures from her retirement unit. Next went the endearing family photos, as well as the beautiful bunches of flowers, as the vases were returned to the sluice room. Had to hurry on this little lot. 

The dumpster at the back of the forever home was sought. It got a supply of night attire, cute fluffy slippers, and the dressing gown. Everything else we had endowed Mum with had to be removed. Rugs, homemade cushions, and tins of special toffees – all gone. I didn’t inquire what my family did with all that stuff. I guess it was only stuff no one can take with them. 

Anyway, my sister had no more than half an hour to empty this forever-final bedroom. Or else the nursing home manager would have applied extra fees for the room. This was their employer’s guidelines, showing access to information sharing. The staff fielded all queries and any workplace complaints by family members to their team leader, admirably.

 The staff’s duty was to sanitize the room as quickly and professionally as possible, as they turfed the sheets into the laundry container. They had to remake the bed, and then wipe down all surfaces until spotless. Here was indeed a geriatric nursing plan to install the next frail elderly patient in the bed by 2pm.

So, while I was consulting one of my capable health providers the other day, apparently this is common practice. Her late mum passed away in a hospice. My health provider had also received the anticipated palliative nurse phone call that the end was near. Thoughtfully, but realistically, she too had supplied her husband and a heavy-lifting male friend, with his ute. 

They too had about half an hour to clear any grief away until they had cleared the final bedroom. Hurry up, time was of the essence. Never mind. Sad, but true. Grief is its own land and company. As boomers, we can all take our time in our memoirs, but only after the staff have wiped down the bed, and turned the page. Such nurses are lovely and devoted to their vocations. I really would dedicate a gold medal to them, they have earned one, in their specialist workplace environment.

Hurry up, take your time later. Is that your experience too? 

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up