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Who Are We Really Giving For?

sorry for your loss cookie cake

I was perusing the obituaries online early this week (I know, it’s a morbid habit I picked up when I used to work in a hospital  with old people) and was instantly struck numb.  Suddenly I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.

There on the screen was a lovely picture of a doctor that was very helpful to one of my sons about 3 years ago. We had been through the ringer with him…from doctor to doctor, test after test, and no relief. He and I were both at our wits end.

All that searching for relief resulted in our finding ourselves sitting in the office of Dr. A.

Stylish and upbeat, she listened, she was kind, and she helped. It felt to me like the first real help we had gotten and I was grateful.

Seeing her photo and name in the obituaries didn’t seem possible or right.

Quickly I was transported back to those terrible struggles with my son…what a horrible and difficult time that was. My instinct as Mama has always been to just keep going, to keep working, to get through the thing and feel the feelings later.

Well Tuesday was much, much later, but I was feeling the feelings for sure. Swiftly a feeling rose above all the angst of that time and I felt pure gratitude. I was so grateful my son met Dr. A.

I suspect he saw her less than a handful of times, but my son felt heard, he felt understood, and he felt some relief. That’s a lot for just a few short interactions.

I stood in the cookie kitchen wondering, “If Dr. A just grazed our lives and I am this sad that her soul left this earth, how in the world are those who truly love and know her getting by?”

I threw an extra cookie in the oven thinking I would bring it to the office where she worked. I don’t know her family, but I could at the very least express my sympathy to the people that saw her each day. Hopefully it would be a small comfort to them.

I delivered it myself around lunchtime that day. I stood outside the reception window a couple minutes while the person at the desk finished a phone call. I had put a label on it to the Staff and, “From the Family of a Former Patient”. The gal at the desk took it from my hand and seemed to be reading the label while also giving me a questioning look.

I tried to speak, to repeat the ‘From’ portion of the label to clear her confusion, but my words were stuck in my throat as my eyes filled with tears. I think I said the words but with my cracking crying voice I’m sure they weren’t understandable.

I returned quickly to my car and shut the door. I wiped my tears with my hand and I sat quietly for a second.

It was clear as a bell in my head:

I gave that cookie to comfort myself.