Liz Bowerman has a bitter-sweet pill to swallow.
She’s leaving Grand Cayman after 19 years to return to her home of England to care for her aging parents.
She came here for only six months of rest and relaxation, but as it does to many, the island bug bit and Ms Bowerman was infected with a love for this place.
Ms Bowerman has been a nursing fixture on the island since 1988, when she started working with Dr. Steve Tomlinson.
‘I was taking a break from nursing when I came here for six months. Then I fell in love with Cayman. I wanted to stay so I chose to return to nursing and Dr. Tomlinson was kind enough to offer me a job,’ she said.
Ms Bowerman first worked in quality control at Royal Palms for Capt. Charles Kirkconnell, holding that job from 1986 to 1988. After that, she started working for Mr. Tomlinson.
For the last five years, she has worked solely with Dr. Stephen Pickering, after assisting him, Dr. Edward Caudeiron and Dr. Gordon Smith.
‘She’s been my nurse and friend for more than 12 years. I am going to miss her. In fact, I’m going to feel like I’ve lost my left hand,’ Mr. Pickering said.
Ms Bowerman will return to England to help take care of her parents.
‘I’m torn about leaving. I’m sad to go, but circumstances dictate it. I’m just taking everything a day at a time.
‘I’m going to miss the people and all that the job entailed. I’m going to miss the community, my church and the Humane Society,’ she said.
In addition to nursing, Ms Bowerman has displayed a commitment to the community over the years.
She volunteered at the First Baptist Church, mainly doing office work. She has been a strong supporter of the Humane Society.
‘I also worked as the secretary/go-fer for the Cayman Islands Medical & Dental Society once a month for about 12 years,’ she said. Her time at the society was rewarded with a gold watch earlier this year.
Her love of animals is clear. Ms Bowerman has found homes for her two dogs and cats that will stay behind, but one feline will accompany her to England.
‘I am carrying one cat back. That’s my Cayman souvenir,’ she said.
Ms Bowerman rescued the lucky cat, Ziggy-Mae, out of a car park one night during a rainstorm. The cat never left her home.
During Ivan, Ms Bowerman stayed at her brother’s house in South Sound, along with about 10 other people, but they took care of lots of animals as well.
‘We had 16 creatures in my brother’s house, including two fish that were the most trouble. We had to keep scooping water to create bubbles since there was no electricity,’ she said.
Ms Bowerman has witnessed various changes to the island over the years, with one major difference that it is much more commercialised.
‘There is still the old-time, small-town atmosphere here but it is getting crowded out. But the older people have all the grace and manners they are famous for,’ she said.
Ms Bowerman will leave the island some time next week.
‘I feel God has led me to go home again,’ she said: ‘If things work out in the future, I would love to come back here to live again.’
The Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital is hosting a farewell event for Ms Bowerman today at 6 pm.