An Anniversary

On September 25, 2007, I was settling into a third straight overnight vigil by my father’s bedside.  Although slipping into a coma a few days before, he was still responsive to pain, and so my family took turns staying awake to monitor his breathing and push his morphine PCA when he screamed or moaned and panicked.

On September 26th, we were all exhausted and while we dozed or heated up a late lunch that afternoon, his breathing slowed.  At approximately 1630 PST, he left us, seeming to wait for a quiet moment to slip away in peace.

Tomorrow at approximately 1630 PST I will be leaving my clinical site and heading to the airport to fly home and spend the weekend with my family.  Rather apt timing.

This anniversary marks a year of grieving, of healing, of exploration and of growth.  I catch myself wanting to pick up the phone and call my dad about my mental health rotation.  He was a psychologist and would have been so excited to hear about my experiences, and even more thrilled that I have enjoyed it so much.

But even more importantly, he would have been excited that we are all finding joy in our lives.  We miss him desperately and we are all still struggling over how to live each day with a gaping hole in our hearts.  He saw his own share of tragedy in life, but those experiences brought him closer to his family and helped him find meaning and joy in the people he loved.  The best way I know to honor his memory is to follow his lead.

I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill.  But I won’t be doing it alone.

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