Before there was Simplicity Transitions, there was me – Linde, the dance instructor, who had been dancing since age 3, and who pursued psychology and dance education at both an undergraduate and graduate level. I was living out my life in my home state of New Jersey, commuting to New York City for school and work, teaching dance and fitness classes, and doing grant writing and promotion for performing artists. However, I had grown up around healthcare, with a Mom who worked as an ER admissions clerk for many years, and I had volunteered at the local community hospital in high school and worked there part time in college, and then full time in HR before pursuing my graduate degree in dance. So, eventually, I was drawn back to healthcare and decided to go to nursing school while working full time at, yes, another local community hospital!
I then embarked on my now 25 year nursing career, starting out in behavioral health, then home healthcare and faith community nursing, and finally landing in hospice care, where I believe I really belonged in the first place. Nursing fulfilled the part of me that longed to make a difference in people’s lives by providing them the care and compassion they needed while going through whatever health challenges they were facing.
I loved working in hospice from the beginning. My parents had always talked openly about the inevitability of death, and the importance of life care planning, so it was work that felt natural to me and I was so privileged to be providing help, care and support to patients and their families at end of life. But I grew increasingly frustrated with the state of our healthcare system and felt held back in so many ways from truly making a difference. I decided to pursue nurse coaching, in an effort to provide more value to those I felt I could help and support. Having lost my father very suddenly while in college, and then experiencing many other losses of family members, friends, and colleagues over the years, I realized that most people, myself included, were not really allowed in our culture to grieve fully, and were not supported on the unique journey of grief. I wanted to immerse myself even more in providing care and support to the dying and the grieving, so after finishing my nurse coach training and obtaining my board certification, I also trained and certified as an End of Life and Grief Doula.
As a nurse, I have discovered that, especially in healthcare, grieving “too much” or for “too long” is not an acceptable response to any loss. That showing our feelings is seen as a sign of weakness. Instead, we should “move on," yet we are not ever really told how or shown how to do that. I have learned from both personal and professional experience that grief is never linear, whether we are experiencing personal losses, professional losses, financial losses, or a loss of freedom, independence, mobility, safety, security, peace of mind... it doesn't matter.
At some point in the very deep sea of grappling with loss and possibly facing our own mortality, or that of someone we care about, we all experience that profound sense of feeling alone.