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His wife was dying. Here's how a nurse became a 'beacon of light'

Veronica and Roger.
Roger Lynn
Veronica and Roger.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series, from the Hidden Brain team. It features stories of people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.


In February 2010, Roger Lynn's wife Veronica was admitted to hospital. She had stage four breast cancer, which had metastasized to her abdomen and bones. The diagnosis was grim and the surroundings in the hospital only made things more difficult.

"Her room was at the far end of the surgical floor, and felt like a dark and forgotten corner," Lynn remembered.

One day, as Lynn was sitting with his wife, a nurse named Jennifer came in and shared some good news: A room with a window had opened up and she wanted his wife to have it.

"She led me down the hall and into her room, which was filled with light, and from the windows there was a panoramic view of the Puget Sound, Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains serving as backdrop for the whole scene," Lynn said.

The new room transformed their experience of being in the hospital day after day.

"I remember sitting there quietly in the evening, with my beautiful wife sleeping on the other side of the room, as I watched the setting sun drop behind the mountains," he recalled.

But a week later, Veronica took a turn for the worse. She developed a blood clot, and passed away. The next day, Lynn took flowers to the nurses' station as an expression of thanks for their support over the past two weeks. When he arrived, Jennifer approached Lynn and took him by the hand.

Roger Lynn.
/ Roger Lynn
/
Roger Lynn
Roger Lynn.

"[She] led me to one of the nurse's conference rooms, where she proceeded to tell me what an honor and privilege it had been to care for Veronica and her family. She had been touched by the experience and was truly saddened by her death," Lynn said.

"Jennifer didn't have to find me that day when the room with a view became available. She didn't have to pull me into a quiet room to tell me that knowing my wife had made a difference in her life. But she did, and her kindness was a beacon of light in the midst of a dark and painful time."


Listen to All Things Considered each day here or on your local member station for more stories like this.


My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday. To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brigid McCarthy
Autumn Barnes