The medical profession is all about giving – serving those who are hurting and helping find medical solutions.
We’re not so good at receiving.
Yesterday morning I got a text message from my sister. My big sister is a doc herself and has been part of my ‘cheering section’ as I’ve pursued my own medical career. But this message hit me hard.
“I’m writing to tell you that Al passed away this morning.”
There’s nothing that can prepare you for such news. And while I feel like my sister holds half of my heart, I know that the sadness I feel is minuscule compared to hers. She found her true soul-mate late in life, and Al was one of those priceless men who treated my sister like a queen. Their life together was a beautiful testament to how wonderful a marriage is supposed to be. And my only thought was, I need to get to her. I need to help get our mother to her. We need to be together and wrap her up in our love and support.
As messages of condolences roll in, I’m watching how different folks deal with grief in another’s life. Some don’t say much but their “I’m with you” message is clear. Some offer prayers, some share a similar situation in their own lives. And some ask what they can do to help. With the help of friends, we set up a gofundme account to help us siblings and our mother travel so we can just be with.
The most priceless messages we’ve received are those who say something like this:
Its okay to be sad. Its okay to cry. You don’t need to pretend you’re alright. I understand.
I hope I always remember this, as I continue to reach out to suffering patients. While there is a limit to medicine’s ability to ‘fix’ things, there is no limit to the power of compassion.
And often, just saying, “we’re with you” is enough.
Your contributions will be used to help us travel to be with my sis, and anything beyond travel costs will go to help with all those ‘little’ things for my sister. May blessings continue to flow into your life as you give, and receive, compassion.