I know that it’s my job
I know that it is what I am supposed to do
I know that it is the reason I am brought into this situation.
My role is that of leader, guide, hand holder, truth teller and comforter.
But, sometimes, the lines blur a bit, the blue runs into the red creating a vivid purple. My role gets less defined because my heart becomes less guarded. I see something in you that mirrors something in me. That reflection of self cause the small erosions in the normally impenetrable walls. Seeing you in me leaves me with such a hard problem… how can I prepare you and help you walk your path without my own heart breaking?
You are getting weaker. Your eyes dulled. Your skin has become so transparent that your tiny blue veins run up your arms like rivers forming deltas and branching off. The dark circles under your eyes used to mean you had a fantastic weekend where you had a great time with friends, but, it now means that a force we cannot see is siphoning your life away. Some days, I make my visits and you are sitting up, half smiling and cracking f bomb laden jokes – making yourself laugh because you know I could hang with you word for word, but, because of my position, I just smile. Other days, you are so weak, you barely turn to acknowledge me. It’s those days I know how hard this will be because this is just a toe dip in the ocean of what awaits.
We are about the same age. We make the same cultural references. I have had to go to bat for you with doctors that didn’t initially want to hear what I had to say – and you saw me fight for you – eventually getting you exactly what you deserved. You looked up at me, with your voice barely above a whisper and said “Bitches get things done” and gave me a fist bump. You know if I had to, I would do anything for you and your family if I felt it was right.
It does scare me though, honestly, because as I prepare you and your family for your journey, I should be preparing myself. Not all patients are the same. We have cried together. You have shared your fears with me and as I held your frail body it was as if I could actually feel those fears vibrate through my own body. As I see you getting weaker and the moments of your life are reaching their end, I cannot help but feel a bit angry for you. Most times, there is a relief that the afflicted person is no longer suffering, but that would not likely be the case with you.
This makes me realize that above all the degrees, job titles and fancy letters behind my name, I am a mere human. Try as I might, there are times that I cannot outrun feelings. To be honest, I am not really sure that I would want to be. While there are those that say that it does nothing but make this job harder, for me, it makes this job uniquely personal. There are stories and faces and names. Each one takes a tiny peace of my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, I might know the future holds some hurt, I will walk it willingly with you. That journey… that walk… those forever memories. If I can make your transition at all easier, it is more than worth every tear for me