Some Darkness

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

   Today, I don't have a recipe for you. I don't have a pretty picture either. I have a sad message and I needed a place to get it off my chest, a place of safety and comfort. This blog has rapidly turned into the kind of space that contains all kinds of wonderful feelings for me- warmth, creativity, happiness, wonderful memories and a hopefullness for what I can make of my life one day. But sometimes, I feel the need to share not so happy things with you and I have so far stopped myself because I feel protective of this blog like a parent feels protective of their child- I want to shield the ugly parts of the world from it.

   I feel too tired this month to stop myself from seeking solice here. This rotation has overwhelmed me with a tremendous sense of sadness, loss and frustration.

   I lost a patient this week. I don't like that phrase, actually. I suppose I say it only because that is how all the other doctors and nurses describe this awful event. Why do we feel the need to make it sound so innocent? Children lose their retainers and socks that match. We lose our keys and misplace earrings. You don't lose patients.

   He died. He was impossibly young and born without a single advantage in this world, and despite everything so many people did, he died.

   When I decided to go into medicine, I underestimated how much of a toll such pain and suffering would take on my being. I remember as a teenager thinking about going into medicine and knowing, someplace deep in my soul, that medicine was too ugly for me. As much as I love people and everything about what it means to be alive, I somehow knew that being around the sick and dying, the neglected, the neglecful, would turn me into the kind of person I didn't want to be.

   Perhaps that is what I love so much about food. It isn't the physical entity that is food, it's the act of giving and enjoying and providing comfort, nourishment and love. Every meal I make, every plate of food I give, feels like a piece of brightness and hope that I put into the world in some small way. At its least, it calms the pangs of emptiness in someone's stomach, at its most, it enriches their day and puts a smile on their face.

   So there you have it. I feel saturated with the knowledge that bad things happen to innocents. We can try our hardest and know everything there is to know about the science behind what mysterisouly creates life amongst the billions of cells that we are. At the end of a long day, a baby still can die.

   Spend time with someone you love today, as many someones as you can manage. Make a big pot of comforting, thick brothed soup and dig in. Dig in and forget that it all could disappear, and there doesn't have to be a reason why.

   That's what I did. And it helped.

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