Dear friends of the 19th floor,
At time of departing, there is always something come to mind that I feel to speak and to write. So here it is. Take it as a "Thank you" note, or just a plain letter, from someone who had the privilege live with this crew for a few weeks, being able to see and hear what your day is like, and want you to know how wonderful you really are.
If you have ever in doubt of your job and the life you are giving to these patients in your nursing, I hope you will find my letter comforting, and encouraging. Not that I want to pump you up by persuading how important your job is; but by pointing out a fact that each time when I visited, including this time, that I noticed the mark this work has left on you — a small wrinkle, a gray hair, a look from lacking sleep, a body that speaks "I'm tired" yet you keep giving to these people as if this is your first day. I feel sad. But I know what these have been translated to — it's the healthy look on my dad, the better walk of another 爷爷/奶奶, a recovery from another flu by somebody, and the clean/pleasant smell on these people who have lost control over life, but you are a string to tie them from slipping down.
It is a daunting task you have decided to take. It is only for us to observe how a lunch madness can be, how testing it is to feed when s/he chooses to go with their own mind, leaving you sitting there and wonder how such a difficult and unrewarding thing to spend your life on. "Why can't he just open that mouth, and let me feed!", I wanted to scream sometimes. But I have seen nothing comparing to you. I could only imagine how you could still put up a smily face and joke about it, and be nice and friendly to them, to each other, and to this life.It is not easy — this, I must say, is a complete understatement. This, is mission impossible, for you to keep an upbeat spirit day and night, literally, when you are here, and to be as responsible and as responsive as you have been everyday. But indeed, you did it, you are doing it. For this, I truly admire your endurance and your spirit, because this is the side of humanity that I don't find much anymore in anywhere outside this place.
Coming to here is like coming home, and it is really each of you who made it feel home. What is home? — A place you feel warmth, feel safe, feel peace. I think you will be laughing at me now that I use the word peace to describe your day. It is anything but peaceful. Yet, my dear friends, you don't know how much peace you have created for us, for us families and friends whose life will have been an utter chaos if not because of your existence. Without 19th floor and you, it could only be despair. This is home, it makes me feel warm, makes me feel safe, makes me feel, peace.
I wish Noah would grow up someday liking this type of work, and be like one of you who can makes a difference in others' life. If parents always want the best for their child, this place and this experience will be the best one could give him. Next time when I knock on the door, some will look familiar, some will be strangers. I will see more gray hairs perhaps, more wrinkles, more tired looks... I know I'll feel sad, probably so are you, and we will see each other how much life has changed us, and yet, how little these patients have changed — in physics, they say the total mass in this universe is a constant. I wonder maybe love is, also, that by giving away so much by you, the people here are kept from becoming empty.
Thank you for letting us stay and being part of this.
Feng & Noah
— by Feng Xia