16: Memories

16: Memories

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses


The joys I have possessed are ever mine; out of reach, behind eternity, hid in the sacred treasures of the past, but blest remembrance brings them hourly back.

~John Dryden

It was the end of my shift, and I pushed open the door to the patient’s room to see if any relatives or friends had come to visit. None had. She was such a frail little lady and multiple strokes had left her with difficulty speaking.

I pulled up a chair and sat beside her bed. She did not move. Knowing that she had been an English teacher, I spoke of the influence she must have had over her students through the years.

She did not answer any of my gentle questions. But I sensed she was aware of my presence, so I continued talking about what her days teaching English must have been like. I told her that I remembered vividly one of my English teachers and how I enjoyed poetry at that time.

Still no reaction.

I started quoting Wordsworth’s famous poem: “I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills.” I continued reciting the poem, and when almost to the end, I paused.

This sweet lady turned her head and as clear as a bell said, “And then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.”

She fell asleep, and I quietly left her room, humbled by the fact that God gives us memories to retrieve when he feels we need them most.

~Diana Millikan

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