Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tears for a life too short

I can't stop crying for a boy I never met, but who's story I have been following for the last year and a bit.  He was diagnosed with AML at 6, his battle chronicled in poetic detail,  and died over shabbos. 

He was a superhero.  His parents, Rabbi Phylis and Rabbi Michael, are beyond superheros.  Time and time again they have gone above and beyond to bring good into this world.  Throughout this whole process they seem to always keep others in mind, trying to give back to those they encountered every step of the way.   It is this selflessness that continues to inspire me.  Even in circumstances horribly beyond imaginable, goodness and light can be sought.  There is always work to be done. "36 rabbis shave for the brave" St Baldrick's fundraiser is underway, now in Sam's memory, with a lofty goal of raising $180,000.

Sometime around the beginning of medical school I remember reading a study that doctors tend to be much more uncomfortable with death than the rest of society.  We may be comfortable with our own mortality, favoring much less invasive end of life care, but we can not except it for others in our lives.  I don't remember where I initially read it, but in times like this, I wonder about it.   Are we predisposed to medicine because we want the tools to stop death, or does medical training teach us that death is failure?

Regardless, 8 year olds are not supposed to die.  Parents are not supposed to bury their children.  For all that love Sam, z''l, and for all the others' who have had to bury children prematurely, my heart breaks for you.  I can not even begin to imagine what you have been through.  Know that I will try to carry your tragedy into my practice as a doctor - hopefully making me more compassionate, empathetic, and aware of the limitations of my art. 

1 comment:

Aliza said...

just seeing this now- it really resonates with me. i have kind of a cool story about seeing the fireworks they organized for Sam right before he died while I was in Chicago with my family...that I'll have to tell you some time.