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At Auckland Hospital, there’s this sad moment when you and another adult turn right out of Lift Bank C on level 3 and start towards Starship. You have this, oh no, you too moment. I thought I at least had this last walk to collect my thoughts. Now you’re here. Stranger.

Today I paced that long/short walk through the halls just instep with another lady. We gave each other a wide berth, hungry for the only personal space we’ve seen today. She looked about my age. She wore the sunken tired eyes of a woman who has cried too much and slept too little of late with dignity. Her back upright but her shoulders slumped.

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We avoided eye contact lest we see too much kindred pain. Both kept a gentle pace, neither willing to rush the other. We knew we would both have to wait for the same lift at the end of the tunnel. Across the last bridge only one lift was really working, thus it took forever.

I let her push the level first. 6 same as me. Our kids must be the same age. When the door closed shut we both let out an audible heartweary sigh in unison. The last bastion before reality reappears when those door reopen. Our eyes flick to the other then darted away in silence: I hear ya girl.

I’m sorry we’re neighbours. Whatever you’re going through, whoever you’re here for, I hope it gets better. Being here puts things in perspective, there’s a lot of sick kids here. But they’re smiling.

Or trying very hard to.

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And that’s what I love about hospitals. When you think about it, everyone here is trying to be better than they are. Sick people trying to be well, parents trying to be patient, family trying to be supportive, friends trying to help, medical staff trying to heal. Everyone here is trying their best to be a better version of themselves for the sake of someone else. Willing each other to keep going.

Trying valiantly to be brave and strong and loving and it’s bloody inspiring I tell you what.

Human condition. Inspiring stuff we're made of.

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