I am coming back home after attending my cousin’s funeral, a young and healthy boy of 21. It was a sombre occasion like you wouldn’t imagine. My aunt was a wreck and no words came to me that could offer her any comfort. There’s nothing to say, is there? I cried with her and came back.
Incidents like this get one thinking and I am privy to all human truisms. First, when you’re in this field, death isn’t a foreign concept. We speak about deteriorating patients and falling vitals like normal people discuss the fallacies of the government. But I realized, when it’s family, it hits home. It’s a kind of grief I cannot describe even if I tried. So while being an empathetic doctor is important, we should learn to not get personally involved with our patients. There’s no other way to keep ourselves sane in this game.
Second, when my mother told me last night that I should go meet my aunt today, I was hesitant. Wouldn’t she want some space; To cope with the grief? I pondered. I went nonetheless on my father’s insistence.
Without a sliver of doubt, she needs space and time. But she probably needs the comfort and support that could only come from the warm embrace of another human being. Funerals are for the living, not for the dead. I understand that now.
And third, and probably the most important, like not really Watson, pointed out in our last post, we have so much to be grateful for simply for being born normal. But more so, who knows what might happen to any of us tomorrow? You could have an aneurysm that might blow or my heart could stop beating. So as long as we are here, let us make an effort to be kind to one another. Let’s make our presence worthwhile.