I was born in Smalltown, America, and my mother was, without question,
my teacher. Mom didn't teach school, but she insisted on grammar, morals,
manners and care for others who are in need. She was the epitome
of goodness, and I do believe she gave some of all these things to us. I
am certain my family and siblings were each left with some of her warmth
and wisdom. At the age of seventeen, I began my first year of nursing,
and at twenty, I worked in a large hospital. Nursing, for me, was and is
a very special thing, and, indeed, though Mom was a housewife, she was
also our "nurse" and caregiver. Many of my experiences in nursing were
exciting to me, as the feeling to help another has always been present.
I have worked in every discipline in nursing, and also many other
places, that seemed to call me. One was pediatric nursing, and from
that I learned that it was alright to amuse the children, and that they
would giggle even when they were very ill. I also respect the truly
amazing courage that a dying child possesses, and I have worked with
children for about five years. Stoicism was learned by me with those
who were ill, whether adult, male or female, or elderly, and I learned
to help all my patients, through the years. I managed to keep my
composure, and yet, let them know that I cared.
It is essentially these experiences that I want to write about, as many
of the things I have seen, and even short stories that capture anyone's
interest. I also have a love of poetry, primarily Limericks, Sonnets,
and just about all poetry.
In addition, I would truly like to tell some of the stories that I have
seen, in person, such as Hospice care, Emergency Room and even
Chemotherapy. Some of my stories are amusing, and others teach a
lesson. There are also stories that bring a tear to the eyes of the
I am also married, and have three grown daughters, who are mothers
themselves. At this time and counting, I have six grandchildren, three
boys, and three girls. My family now means my husband, Al, and
our children, spread up and down the East Coast. My husband and I live
in Florida, for the last twenty years, and my three married daughters
live with their families on the Eastern U.S., with the youngest child in
New York, the middle daughter in Virginia and the firstborn in South
Carolina. I attempt to visit each of them and their families every year.
Now that I am retired, I would have to call it 'partial', as I intend to
continue working part time, writing as much as I am able, and I also
hope to volunteer either in psychiatry, rehabilitation facilities for
chemical abusers, and also visiting with senior citizens. My dear
husband, Al, and many of his friends have formed a small band, and
it is called, The Jazz Tradition, with emphasis on the 1920's through
the 1950's. Their music is wonderful, and they have played for many
Senior Citizens. I enjoy very much visiting with the band, and seeing
how much they like the music.The Veteran's Hospital always has loved the
band, when they come, and I may volunteer there, also. I have a very fine
respect for our Veterans, and I have written about them, many times.
There is one very different thing about me that I do not usually
mention. I have had approximately five near-death experiences, and
through these experiences, I have a much stronger belief in God,
and this did help me to understand those who were about to die.
On occasion, I do incorporate some religious thoughts in my writing,
yet I have, as I see it, a responsibility to respect any other person's
belief or non belief
In closing, I am very impressed by your site, and I haven't even seen
all of it as yet. I will likely be doing that within the week. I am
also pleased to hear that many of these poets have been published,
and that is simply music to my ears. I realize, it involves a lot of
fortitude and commitment.
I have approximately three books that I am writing (on journals), and
I know one of them will be about nursing, some funny, and another not
so funny. Another book "in my head" and also on several papers,
backed up by CD's will likely be poetry, though I don't want poetry
to be the first one. The third will be stories of the patients in Hospice.
I see a void of persons who do not know about Hospice, unless there
is someone they know about, or even their own families. They have many
misunderstandings, and some fear. But I have found that those who I
have cared for either in their homes, a trailer, or a Senior Home for the
Elderly has been my joy to assist the patient, and also each member of
their families. If there are patients or anyone who needs either help,
I want to be there, whether now or whenever an occasion arises, so
that my time on Earth will be helpful to anyone who needs assistance.
I spent two years in Hospice here in Florida, and I worked with their
families for the last few weeks or months, prior to the patient's death.
There are many other things that come to mind, and I am not only with
new ideas, but also I have had many life experiences, and when anyone
wants to read what I write, then, I will continue writing.
Toni D. Helfrick , R.N. January, 2009