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Today, Natalie George will be laid to rest, and being unable to attend the funeral, I thought that writing a bit more about her might help me with closure.

During the summer of 2009, I was working at Camp Lutherlyn as a counselor.  One week, I got the opportunity to work with a program called Go-For-It, an adventure camp that goes off site for most of the week to go camping, canoeing, rock climbing etc.  Natalie was the nurse for that week, and as I got ready to head out with the group to our camping area several hours away from camp, I joked with her that I’d try not to get hurt or sick without her…

I kept that end of the promise, I made it through the whole week without needing the care of a nurse.  But on Friday of the week, we came back to camp and were going to do a bike ride affectionately known as the Tour de Creme.  The Tour is a bike ride to an ice cream shop a few miles from camp.  It’s fun because kids get an opportunity to get away and really enjoy a nice ride, and the ice cream is also a pretty cool incentive.  Unfortunately, because of a few steep hills, and because of over-confident riders, it had gotten a bit of a reputation as causing injuries.

As we were heading back to camp, I was pedaling really hard to get a running start at a hill when my chain jumped and locked up my pedals.  Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and so while my pedal stopped moving, my feet and legs did not, jamming my leg down towards the ground with intense force, straight into the bike’s sprocket.  Imagine metal teeth going into the nice meaty part of your calf.  That’s about all I need to say about the injury.

I knew instantly it was going to be bad as I pulled out the first aid kit, so we called the head counselors to tell them I’d need picked up and to have the nurses ready.  When I got back to camp, Natalie and her husband Tim were waiting, and were able to clean the cut better than I had been able to and confirmed my belief that he laceration was extremely deep and large and that I would need stitches.

The cut was gruesome.  And while I was laughing hysterically at my own stupidity, I was probably fairly close to going into shock from blood loss.  Natalie kept me talking while her husband cleaned and dressed the wound, keeping me distracted from looking at the clearly visible fatty and muscle tissue in my leg.  And while normally for an ER run, it would just the be the patient (me) and the head counselor, Natalie insisted on coming along.

While at the hospital, she kept me comfortable in a way that only a mother can, and she ensured that the staff maintained and followed her high standards of care.

On the way back to camp, she found out that my parents were out of the country and so the next morning when the camp session was over and we had the weekend off, she welcomed me into her home so that rather than being alone at camp for a day and a half, unable to move around much or drive, I could have the help and attention that I needed.  That night I got a home-cooked meal and the care of not only a truly passionate nurse, but a wonderful mother.

It is for this reason that I am eternally grateful for Natalie George.  The way she opened her heart, and her home to me in my time of need.

Natalie, you are a friend who will not be forgotten, not by me, or by anyone you’ve touched.  Rest in peace.

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