Today, I saw people leave work. They badged out for the last time. My friends. Good friends. The halls no longer ravaged by alarms and the sounds of code blue called overhead. For a moment the beeping stopped. The constant noise of a once chaotic ward dwindled down to a single celebration. A moment unlike any other. We hugged as if COVID didn’t exist for a final goodbye. When the halls were fresh and full of dying persons, we held each other dear, and now I say goodbye to my dear friend. The silence of the halls is but a reminder of the lives lost. Their spirits fill each corner. Tuesday we moved back down to the first floor. The census dropped- a cold reminder of those we couldn’t save. Those left behind. I will forever remember these moments. I will forever be frozen in time. I thought this journey as a travel nurse was about financial stability and helping those in need, but those in need have helped me. I’ve discovered what it means to be human. The phases of life, each one so precarious. Each one suspended in a fragile balance of existence and non-existence. Everyday, I hug someone, and not the COVID side hug. Everyday, I hug someone, because it’s the last feeling on earth I have left to feel human , and maybe it’s wrong, maybe it’s selfish, but today I hugged goodbye to some of the best damn people in healthcare.

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