The following is a letter sent to me by a friend I’ve known for more than twenty years. After I read it, I asked her permission to post it here for Medical Monday. It’s a honest perspective from someone in the medical field who has walked alongside people in some of their most vulnerable moments. The only edits I made were in paragraph breaks so it would be easier to read on a screen.
Thank you, Kris, for your friendship and for allowing us to hear how your experience with your dad shaped the course of your life.
I was so sorry to hear that your child has been diagnosed with diabetes. Not because I don’t think that you can handle it, just that it is a long road and must seem quite overwhelming after just losing your dad.
I work in Medicine, the practice of medicine and although we wish we had all the cures there are some things that we can only help, not cure. As I am sure you recall, my dad had a seizure when I was in 8th grade. It changed our family forever. Dad was no longer a larger than life person, he was mortal, frail and they said he could die at any time. Living with death knocking at our door became a horrible reality as we watched him, waiting for the next big something that would take his heart out completely after the first episode had weakened his heart so severely.
He lived, and I do not pretend that I have been through the grief that you have had to bear, however knowing someone close to you can go at any time….. well it shook my whole world.
I had no safety net.
I had no place to curl in the security of this world.
I had to lean into the eternal. I had to look at what does last, knowing every breath could be our last. It was a horrible and wonderful place all at the same time. Those moments, days, months, years of waiting to see if my dad would live created a hunger for the eternal. They created a place in me that hoped to help others as they live with things nobody can cure. They created a space inside that hungers only for what really matters and what will truly last forever.
I work with bodies, broken bodies. Ailing health and diagnosis that don’t become a distant memory, however in the midst of all that tragedy the light of the eternal shines bright. The hope that we are not home yet, and as my daughter said yesterday, there won’t be anybody crying in heaven. No more pain, no more sorrow. The Lord that we cannot fully understand sent his Son to die so that we could have an eternity with no more pain. I live my life in medicine in hopes that I can always give a glimpse of what really matters to the patients I see. I take care of ailing bodies hoping they know the One that will make them whole and complete. I try to be joyful, but I cry a lot with those who mourn and those who have broken spirits. The fact that God loved us enough to save us by sending His son to die, that hits home so much more when you have lost someone close to you.
So in honor of medical Mondays, I say medicine is a practice, and we are all on the same team. Trying to help as much as we can and yet remembering that on our knees is where the real help comes. Medicine is wonderful, however God is always in control. So thankful that He is a God that loves us, even if we don’t always understand.
Love you friend, keep clinging to Jesus. -Kris