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‘It was just soul wrenching.’ A son explains why he took a job in a nursing home to be close to his ailing mother

Nicheols took the job to be able to say goodbye to his ailing mother.
Nicheols took the job to be able to say goodbye to his ailing mother.(Jeremy Nicheols)
Updated: Mar. 12, 2021 at 6:05 PM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Some families will soon be able to again visit loved ones in nursing homes when COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed on Monday.

While a great relief to many families, that good news would have been too late for one man who was determined to be with his mother as her life came to an end.

“Man, it was just soul wrenching,” Jeremy Nicheols said. “For me to see her I had to look through a side window, through her doorway. I could see her roommate but I could barely see her.”

Nicheols’ mother, Regeina Adams, checked into a Louisville nursing home in mid-July as she was losing her fight against brain cancer.

Nicheols said the idea of not being there for her was beyond frustrating.

“There was always that distance,” he said, “unlike being able to sit by her side and watch TV, even though you’re not saying a word they know you’re there.”

As a solution, Nicheols took an extraordinary step.

In October, he started a part time job at the facility’s kitchen. As an employee, he was allowed to come inside.

Unlike so many other families separated by health restrictions, Nicheols was able to bring comfort to his family knowing that his mother would not die alone.

”It meant closure. It meant no regrets knowing every day that I did as much as I could for my mother,” Nichols said. “For the ability of me to be able to comfort my mom to the last minutes, you always want loved ones to go peacefully. But to tell her that she was a good mom, a good sister, a good wife--those last minutes I wanted to let her know, I had already told her many times, but I wanted her to have something to go away with.”

Regeina Adams died on March 3rd. Nicheols was by her side, holding her hand. Something so few families have been able to do during a pandemic.

He predicts a wave of happiness as patients are soon reunited with their loved ones face to face.

”I’m glad it’s happening,” Nicheols said. “I wish it happened sooner. But I believe it’s going to be, for those residents, the families coming in, I can’t put words to it. I couldn’t imagine the happiness that’s going to be on both the residents and the family member’s face.”

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