Monday, July 30, 2012

Missing Dad (still)

This week I’m taking a much needed week of R+R.  We rented a cottage at the Rhode Island beach.

Yesterday morning we went to the church where my Mom and Dad used to go.  They bought a house just up the road about 10 years before Dad passed away, and then Mom lived here for a few more years before moving.  I’ve had some real spiritual moments in this church, it’s one of the places I feel closest to my Dad.  He passed almost 30 years ago, but there are still times that I miss him and wish he were around to talk to, to bounce ideas off, to share thoughts and experiences with.

Yesterday, sitting in that church, felt like the first time I had rested in 2 years.  I told my Dad what I had been up to, helping to form a union local and all. I wished I could have said it person to person.

My Dad was never in a union, he never talked about unions, put he instilled values in me through what he did say and even more, by his actions. He taught me there is dignity in ALL work and in ALL workers, that all people should be treated with respect, that a person’s worth isn’t measured by their income, their education, their color, their religion, their ethnic background, or their sex.

Last summer I was at a reception at the AFL-CIO office in Washington.  They asked me to say a few words.  I told them that until recently, I had never been involved in union activity but that I had grown up believing that we are all equal and that when one man has two coats, he should share one with the man who has none.  I learned this at home.

The nurses of Backus Hospital now have a voice.  Our challenge is to use that voice, not only in the workplace, but in the community also.  We have that responsibility as members of organized labor, as healthcare workers, and as citizens of this planet. 

We have all grown up with values that tell us this is the right thing to do. This is one of the reasons we are in healthcare.  We are all busy, we all need to balance work and R+R, and none of us has to do it all alone. 

We need only to do what we all called to do, what my Dad and Mom, what your Dad and Mom, taught us to do.

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