Our Loved Ones Were More Than Just A Number
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Our Loved Ones Were More Than Just A Number

They Meant So Much More Than That to Us

My mom used to always say that some systems in life are broken, and the best way to avoid being caught up in a broken system is to stay away from things that will get you caught up in that system.

For many years, as her proxy and patient advocate, I leaned on her teachings and these wise words of wisdom.

She herself had been a proxy and patient advocate for many years for her oldest son, my brother, Brian. I learned a lot from watching her care for him and make the hard decisions.

Due to a reoccurring infection in the earlier portion of 2019 and her ability to move about becoming more challenging, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility became our only option. Of course, this decision was not an easy one, but I believed that it would only be temporary, and I encouraged her to see it that way, too. I only looked for the best facilities, and I recall doing my research and reading other families’ reviews on the places that would accept her as a patient. Despite all of her medical challenges at the time, I remained very optimistic about my mom and her future; because, you see, I truly believed that she would get back on her feet. My mom was a very strong and courageous woman. Her endurance was a sight to see. One of the things that I love the most about her was her ability to do something just to prove that she could when someone told her she couldn’t. She was a brave, beautiful, and courageous woman, and we truly miss her dearly every day. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. She is in my thoughts as I awaken in the morning, and she is in my thoughts as I drift off to sleep at night.

But I wanted to take the time to write this blog today, because my mother wasn’t just a number. There were so many experiences in 2019 that wanted to treat her that way. I spent a lot of my time fighting for her recognition, her value, and her worth, because she was so much more than just a number or just another patient lying in a hospital bed. She was my mother, and she belonged to my brothers, too; she was a wife; she was a grandmother, a sister, and a friend; and she was a woman of faith who loved the Lord deeply. No matter the hospital, no matter the nursing home, and no matter the insurance company, there was always a fight to reveal her value and worth. Of course, I met many wonderful nurses, and I will always cherish those who cared for my mom the way they would’ve cared for theirs. Believe-you-me, I searched and did my research to try and find the best facilities for my mom. There’s so much that needs to be fixed within our healthcare system concerning how we take care of our seniors, but I will save that conversation for a different day.

Let’s talk and put our focus on the current issues at hand. Currently, close to 300,000 people in the United States have lost their loved ones due to the coronavirus, and their lives will never be the same. Many are being asked to put on a mask; many are being asked to socially distance; and many are being asked to make small changes that will improve and may help save the lives of others. I want you to think of something that you treasure the most, and ask yourself, “Is there anything I wouldn’t do to protect it?”.

If these few steps were the only things being asked of me in the beginning of 2019, I would’ve gladly taken them and some if it meant saving the life of my mother. In fact, I would’ve gladly taken them and some if it meant saving the life of someone else’s loved one as well. My wife and I take these precautions daily, and we do them every time we leave our home, because we know what it feels like to watch your loved one transition and even be treated as a number.

We salute and thank all of the doctors and nurses out there who are doing a great job caring for your patients as if they were your own family. I truly thank you for understanding that our loved ones are more than a number, and I pray God‘s blessings and favor over your life. May His power and presence continue to protect and bring you home safely to your families during this pandemic and very challenging season.

My mom was more than a number, and although she passed away in January of this year, I understand the challenging days ahead for the more than 300,000 families who have lost their loved ones throughout the world and the close to 300,000 here in the United States. This is a time for prayer, compassion, and sincerity with your actions.

I’m praying for you, and I hope that you find the strength necessary to continue your journey forward, no matter how you’ve lost your loved one. May God‘s peace, rest, and comfort bring relief to your soul, in the Name of Jesus, our Shepherd, Amen. – Psalm 23

– Seneca Howard

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