Hiatus – Day 4

…Sombre Thoughts…

We rose early, drove thru the rain, caught a ferry, and found ourselves at the hospital. Perhaps I’d been keeping the idea at arms length, to deny the truth of it, but as the elevator doors opened and we saw their familiar faces, the truth came crashing to the forefront of my world: She is sick, really sick…

At some point in my twenties, I think I just stopped. Stopped growing, stopped progressing, stopped moving forward in my life. I still run to my parents when my heart is broken. I still call my dad when there is something wrong with my car. I still have boxes of childhood things hidden somewhere in my parent’s garage. I’m not grown up yet, I can’t be. I don’t have friends whos parents are dead of semi-natural causes. I didn’t graduate with a small town guy whos dance group nearly won America’s Got Talent. Our closest family friend’s oldest daughter isn’t currently fighting a rare and aggressive form of cancer for her life…

We hug, and smile, and are happy for the familiar faces. Yesterday was a bad day, and at this point, they are simply getting thru each day. Unsure of what tomorrow will bring, or the day after, or when life eventually calls them back home. Who wakes up with a game plan for this sort of thing? We decide to go get pizza for lunch. 

I am not sure if I am quiet because I am tired, or if it is because I am unsure of what to say. I can admittedly lecture others on the sorts of things to think and say in this sort of situation, but I can’t find the words myself. How do you talk with someone whos world right now is this fight, without bringing up the idea of death? How do you talk with someone whos world right now is unknown, without seeming aloof? How do you ignore the topic of pain and fear, without ignoring the actual pain and fear? The ironic thing is, this is my job. I am strong every single day for my patients, and especially for their loved ones. “What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to go home and sleep tonight?” Fear and pain in their eyes. And I will nod, place a hand gently on their shoulder or back, and say, “take care of yourself. Rest assured that your loved one is where they need to be right now. In the hands of people who are watching, and caring, and going to keep them safe. Take care of yourself, so that when you come back tomorrow, you are strong for them.”

But none of that comes to my mind as we awkwardly stand outside her room. Or once we are in her room. Or even once we’d left… I don’t realize I am holding my breath. Holding it as we ride down the elevator, holding it as we drive back to the ferry, holding it as we arrive back home, the sun still shining. It isn’t until the front door closes behind us that I release my breath and with it my tension. How do I begin to make sense of this reality?

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