The Road Lightly Traveled: Part-time Medicine – Part II (2)

The Road Lightly Traveled: Part-time Medicine – Part II (2)

Death teaches us–if we want to hear–that the time is now. The time is now to pick up a telephone and call the person that you love. Death teaches us the joy of the moment. It teaches us we don’t have forever. If teaches us that nothing is permanent, It teaches us to let go, there’s nothing you can hang on to. And it tells us to give up on expectations and let tomorrow tell its own story, because nobody knows if they’ll get home tonight. To me that’s a tremendous challenge. Death says, “Live now.” [2]

Working in the area of grief and loss has helped me to focus on life, living and the here and now. Thankfully I learned the important lesson in my late 30’s after the deaths of several friends, colleagues and patients. I learned how important is is to appreciate the joy of the moment, because you don’t know how long it will last.

Each day with my daughter it is a marvel just to watch her grow and develop. Perhaps most important, this new role as mother has taught me something I had been looking for during my residency training, how to live and just be in the moment. I cherish the time I spend with her, enjoy the smiles and laughter, and realize that helping her develop into a person may ultimately serve a greater purpose than treating patients. I find myself reflecting on the touching words of Ralph Waldo Emerson and redefining my earlier idea of success, as being something much more than career:

” To laugh often and love much, to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children… to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child…or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—that is to have succeeded.” [3]