You have heard the phrase “Time heals all wounds.”
But the phrase is better known in this famous quote:
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.”
When we think of time and grief a few things need to be appreciated.
There is no correct amount of time where you are supposed to grieve.
Time does not make grief go away. It makes it softer. I have heard of the analogy of the stone in the pocket. Or the ball in the box. Glitter in the air. Grief is a heavy book on a shelf. Find what imagery resonates best with you and you understand. If you have love for someone gone your love doesn’t go away, so your grief stays with you. And you have to continue on.
Milestones of time are hard with grief. One week, one month, one year, five, ten…as time goes by we continue to live but the milestones- the anniversary of a birthday, wedding date, day of passing, these days remind us of the loss of the loved one. The fact they are not here in continuing with us. We remember the good memories but can feel the pull of guilt that they are not here and we could have done something different, maybe said something and that person would still be here. The mind thinks of clues that hindsight puts out as opportunities missed.
For me it is not Nolan’s day of passing that is any harder than the 364 other days. It is the weeks leading up to his death anniversary that pull me back to my painful memories. Those memories, those moments that I do not want to relive and remember.
I would rather like to remember the good memories, the happy ones I have of him.
To celebrate my 25 years of service as a general pediatrician I share with you 25 of my thoughts in no particular order. These thoughts are mine and are not supported by my employer.
When I celebrated twenty years of working it was two months before my world fell apart. I am acknowledging my 25 but not celebrating it. These past five years feel like twenty and are not the best ones of my life.
I am sorry to say my profession is slowly eroding in respect. Pediatricians are at the bottom of the pay scale for physician salaries but we take care of the most important patient population. (I am biased I know) I have been called horrible names by angry parents, told I am stupid and selfish and that I work just for the money. (huh?)
God made puppies and babies cute because they poop and pee a lot and many times in places they are not supposed to.
Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Sometimes you feel rewarded. Sometimes you get your heart broken.
I think I hold the record for the most newborn circumcisions performed in my hospital in a 24 hour period.
Don’t tell me you understand how it is to grieve the loss of a child. Until you bury your son due to suicide don’t tell me your perspective. I don’t tell people how to grieve. I listen. That is what I ask people to do.
Kingdom, Phylum, Class , Order, Family, Genus, Species. If you don’t get it you did not major in Biology.
Practicing medicine would be so much better if I didn’t have to spend hours at my computer charting and justifying medications, studies/labs and therapies to insurance companies.
When you make a mistake in medicine you can cause permanent damage, have a patient suffer or have a fatal outcome. I do not take my job lightly. I ask people to honor my 25 plus years experience when I recommend a treatment or give advice.
In my early twenties I used to attend Friday night lectures at Fermilab, a particle physics laboratory in Batavia, IL. Yes – I loved physics and I am a science geek.
Don’t expect another 25 years of work from me. How many I have left I don’t know. I DO know it is time to retire when nobody wants to see me or listen to my advice.
I think all women have been sexually harassed at work sometime in their career. My most memorable event was in med school when I was invited to “help” a senior resident in his call room. Hell. No.
It is not an emergency at 2 am if your child has not pooped in a week and you feel now is the time to get advice.
Goldfish crackers are not a protein food.
The medical profession had been waiting for a pandemic to happen. It was never if – but when. I thought it would be a super strain of influenza. I never thought it would be so politized.
Our brain is the least understood organ of our body and obviously the most important.
I feel I will still need to defend vaccines and discuss how they do not cause autism until my last days of work and up to the end of my life.
The first child I ever saw die was carried into the emergency room crying and fully awake. 30 minutes later meningococcemia took his life. The worst sound is hearing a mother wail when she is told her child is dead.
You don’t need to tell me I am strong. I know I am. I also know people who are much stronger than me.
The parent who rubs you the wrong way, the one who makes you feel frustrated during your visit with their child, is the one who you need to listen to and spend more time with.
The worst recurring thought is when you remember your child is dead. Every morning you awaken and are reminded of this.
Pediatricians have the best patients and even on my saddest day I feel joy when I see them. Ok – maybe not 15 month olds – they hate being at our office no matter what and scream and cry the whole time.
It is my honor to be a doctor. I worked hard and thank God for my talent. I am grateful that I found my purpose.
Every day I wake up and pray my intentions: I pray for others and for our world, I pray to serve God thru my work, I pray to share and be present for those that are suffering like me, and I give thanks that I am one day closer to being Home.
I had no idea I could cry so many tears in 5 years.
I don’t know why we are here on this earth at this time 2000+ A.D. But I do know we all are really strong spirits living during this time on this blue ball in this big universe.