All Is Not Lost

All Is Not Lost


by Catie Gosselin of

This weekend, I had the unappealing job of signing my father into a nursing home. Logically, I understand the necessity of this move, as his declining health mandates the availability of care on a 24/7 basis. Emotionally, however, it was a gut-wrenching thing to see him unloaded from an ambulance as I pulled into the facility's parking lot.

Walking into the nursing home, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The complex he had lived in was bright, airy, and spacious. This place was an older building, with smaller halls and less light. It closely resembles a hospital ward. While my husband was relieved to see the kindness and compassion with which the staff interacted with residents, I had difficulty getting past my initial reaction.

Understandibly, the majority of residents are quite sick, and there is constant activity associated with their care. Walking through the halls, it is hard not to be overwhelmed with a sense of loss. Like my father, efforts we take for granted are simply beyond their ability now.

Just as I was about to write the entire experience off as an exercise in misery, I was quite surprised. If you ever want to see what joy is, look into the face of an elderly, infirmed person, smile and say 'hello'; dulled eyes light up, and an expressionless face suddenly beams.

The circumstances of declining health may be devastating, but hope, kindness and compassion still have a place for those preparing to depart.

Copyright 2001 Catie Gosselin

About the Author

Catie Gosselin is the owner/editor of; a community of support, empowerment and spirituality for all women.

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