Sunday, June 30, 2019

TYOFWM - Notifications

How many more people are there to tell..?

It’s been almost three months, and I was stopped by some co-workers the other day asking how my mom was doing.  I thought I would be able to say, “Oh, sorry you didn’t hear, but she died in April” and then just go on with my day, but then the inevitable questions come:  “What happened?  She looked so good...!  We thought she was getting better...”

So I politely stop to explain; yes, it was sudden.  Yes, she was getting better, then she wasn’t.  Yes, thank you for your condolences.  And suddenly all the pain and grief and doubt and anger and self-questioning come back.  Then come the tears, and I have to find a place to quietly get myself back together before trying to get back to work.  

But, my focus is gone for the moment.  In a job where lives matter on you being able to think clearly and rationally, you can’t be thinking about your dead mother and reliving the moment of her death.  You can’t be trying to rationalize your decisions during that last week over and over when there’s a full department and ambulances coming in.  You can’t stop to contemplate for the 100th time what might have been, what could have been, what should have been if you could have kept her from falling back in December.

But, you’re human, and it takes a few moments to get your emotions under control so that you can work.  There’ll be plenty of time for those thoughts that come out of nowhere and suddenly make the tears start to fall.  There’ll be lots of nights thinking about the what if’s...  There’ll be the rest of my life to grieve the sudden loss of someone who’d always been there my whole life.... and, right now, that seems like a very long time...


Cathy Mitchell said...

I can totally understand your feelings. It may not be coworkers for me, but it's other friends and even some family. You can't remember to tell every single person. There are bound to be people who don't know and will ask all those questions. Even now, after 3 years, I've come across someone who doesn't know my mom passed on. It still brings back the memory of that day, how I felt, what I wish I could have done. It does fade as time goes on. If you ever want to chat, just hit me up. I'm almost always online.

betty said...

Its hard because I do it all the time with other situations, but try to not do the "what ifs". I follow a blog down here of a woman whose son who was a police officer who got killed in the line of duty (domestic violence call that went bad) 3 years ago in May 2016. She came to the conclusion after asking all those what if's, like what if he didn't go to work that day, what if he had not been assigned this call, what if, what if, etc., but came to the conclusion that this particular day was the day ordained by God as the day her son would pass. Bible says all our days are numbered before one of them comes to be. The events that led up to your mom's unfortunate passing were allowed by God. Why? I don't know; He's Sovereign we aren't. So try to let go of the what if's and don't assess blame to yourself for anything that you think could have been done differently with a different outcome. You know in your work as a physician that even the most healthiest of people don't recover after a surgical procedure or even the person doing well can suddenly crash and not be able to be revived. So don't beat yourself up about it. I'm sure you provided and made sure your mom had the best care that was out there.

But like I said before, in theory I believe all of this but when faced with my own difficult situations I find myself with a lot ifs and try to wonder what the outcome would be if I had done something different. Looking back over an extended amount of time I can see the work of God in things even though at the time it makes absolutely no sense to me why things happened the way they did.

I was "lucky" in the fact that my mom was living with my sister at the time of her passing 3000 miles away from where I was. A few people knew she was sick and more than likely wouldn't have recovered and those few asked how she was doing when I was in contact with them again. I'm sure my sister had to field a lot of those questions about how my mom was doing, considering she was like your mom, well liked, and I'm sure my sister had that awkwardness, that grief in having to repeat the story like you do when you encounter someone who hadn't heard the news yet.


Kortni Ferguson said...

Talking to people about your dead parent is the worst. It never comes up at an opportune time. And people always want to hear more. I admire your wisdom. I always felt guilty that I was so emotional and put more pressure on myself to suppress my grief, so that I continue on in med school.

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