Walking home, I couldn't get her out of my mind. I'd never even seen her. But I know her. We all know her. Close to retirement, her son killed in a car wreck two years ago. Fifty four years old, raising her grand-daughter because her daughter is unable to do so.
All I see now is her broken body, laying in the rain, bleeding and soiled, the breath taken from her by one mentally ill patient with a long history of violence and assault.
Outside, cold and rainy, first rainfall of the season. Still daylight. The Officer didn't have a hard time finding her. Dead and soiled, bleeding and wet.
More police officers joined in. Administrators. Crying staff, shocked patients.
Begging for more security, more safety on the units. For the vulnerable patients, the really sick ones who are dependent on us for everything from their food to the bed they sleep in. Safety for the workers. Patients and workers who are assaulted on a DAILY basis at this place of healing. The place we come to serve, to work an honest day for an honest day's pay.
We grieve with our glass of wine, our quiet conversation, our shock and dismay. We pick up our quiet resolve and walk in circles. We mourn for Donna. For ourselves. For a system, made up of people, real human beings. A system failed.
Raindrops, a steady chorus from the sky, flatten the leaves that fell from that giant oak. Wet, brown, orange, yellow, scattered across the lawn and over the asphalt. Leaves of rain. Tears of pain.