89: A Gift from Nana

89: A Gift from Nana

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great

A Gift from Nana

Wherever there is a human being,
there is an opportunity for a kindness.


On the morning of March 22, 1995, my sister-in-law went into Los Robles Medical Center to be induced into labor. My husband and I arrived at the hospital in the late afternoon to be there for the exciting event. When we got to her room, everyone present seemed to be in a state of shock.

At the change of shifts, the head nurse, Charlotte, noticed my sister-in-law’s last name and immediately paused. The last name brought back a memory of a woman she had once cared for twenty years ago at a hospital fifty miles away. Consequently, she decided to assign herself to my sister-in-law’s care that evening. She entered the room and hesitantly asked my brother if he knew of a JoAnn. Stunned, he answered, “Yes, she was my mother.”

Although we were excited for the birth of our niece, we could not forget that the next day would be exactly twenty years since my mother had passed away after battling cancer. Charlotte’s eyes grew wide as she realized that she was assisting in the delivery of JoAnn’s first grandchild.

To our amazement, Charlotte actually remembered my father, brother and me, and throughout the evening she shared several endearing stories of the friendship she had developed with my mom for over a year. The commonality of having children the same age made their relationship especially close.

Well past midnight, my sister-in-law was not making progress, so a C-section was performed and Kylee Ann entered the world. For the first time in twenty years, the sadness I so often felt on this day, the anniversary of my mother’s death, was replaced with the joy of new life.

Two days later, as Kylee Ann was being discharged, Charlotte came in holding a delicate white porcelain figurine of a large bird perched on a branch looking down at a smaller bird.

“Your mother gave this to me as a thank-you gift when I took care of her twenty years ago. I’ve cherished it all these years. Now I pass it on to Kylee Ann” — a gift from her Nana.

~Terri Murcia
Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul

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