“Grief never ends … but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith … It is the price of love.”
The “price of love”: We are now paying that price with the passing of Debbie this weekend. I grieve as I write this. The entire hospital and everyone who knew Debbie grieve. We have a right to grieve. We need to grieve. It is the price we pay for having loved her.
Despite the heartache, the pain, the loss we feel, we would not, could not have it otherwise. To not grieve would be to deny knowing Debbie. That would have been the greatest loss of all. To not have known her heart, seen her smile, or experienced her love for others, would have been to miss “the dance.” I would rather experience the “dance of life” with Debbie, and the grief that inevitably comes, than to never have known her and missed all she had to offer – and she offered so much!
To be in medicine is to know grief, pain, and heartbreak in a personal way. They have become all too real to us. With time, we eventually develop hearts like “stained glass windows,” windows that have been broken only to be put back together again, stronger and more beautiful than ever for having been broken. Debbie lived a life that made a difference, a life that counted for others. In doing so, she touched thousands of lives. Each life changed in its’ own unique way. May we live such a life.
The beloved Mr. Rogers, of so many childhoods, said the following: “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing – that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.”
Thank you, Debbie, for having a heart like a stained glass window. Thank you for showing us how to appreciate the best in others. Thank you for teaching us how to love others. It came at a heavy price, that of loving you. Our grief will never completely end, but it will change, and we will be changed for having gone through that passage.
Well done, Debbie, be thou at peace. We love you.
Andy Lamb is an internal medicine physician. He can be reached at Bugle Notes.
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