I saw what the consequences of tonight were, but I can't even begin to imagine the terror which you experienced. What you went through is horrifying. And when you showed up in my ER, I'm not even sure if you were aware of how bad and tragic it was.
I do know that we worked hard to save you. Perhaps too hard - we flung questions at you, told you to look at me, look at the doctor, move your only working extremity. Maybe I was too brisk. I was only trying to help you, and sometimes in our haste to determine how sick you are we forget that you're scared here too - even if you can't tell us you are.
I wish I had done it all differently. When I told you to be still, I tried to do it gently. But looking back, I know that I wasn't comforting. I wish I wasn't so used to these traumas now; I wish you had met me two years ago, when I would have held your hand while talking to you instead of just brushing your forehead briefly like the jaded person I am. I wish, when I made eye contact with you after telling you yet again to please be still and let us evaluate your injuries and try to fix you, that I had known I would be the last person you would ever see.
I saw you leave this world, and I was so busy saving you that I forgot to be there for you. I don't think there was anything we could have done different medically. You were going to die, and I couldn't have stopped that. But I should have helped you die with more dignity, and I failed.
I've thought about you almost constantly since you passed. I keep replaying your final moments in my head, and I think of a thousand things I could have, should have said to comfort you. I'm sorry I didn't do that. It's not that I didn't care about you, I just put my trauma nurse face on and forgot to show it.
I hope you were able to watch how much care and love I put into cleansing your blood soaked body after your death. I hope, wherever you are, that you can forgive me - and that you can recognize my sadness now as my apology to you. I hope I think of you every time something like this happens - I never again want to forget to be a comforting voice as the one who will watch you die.