On Loss and Grief

Gray’s Anatomy…..
– Oh the medical drama… I have a love/don’t completely love relationship.  Sometimes it’s too unrealistic, but I can relate to parts..

I’m not too much on TV commentary – but their last episode hit home… Sometimes the reality of who we are, and are not, as medical professionals is just too much.

In last weeks episode the main characters deal with the death of one of the lead characters… Dr. Derek Sheperd.

In the moments before this clip (below), Amelia (his sister) talks about how together she is in managing the loss. (She has struggled with addiction in many episodes.) Now she is overcoming those vices, and she realizes that she has to keep it together for the patients, and the students, and that if she doesn’t keep getting better at her job, she (or we, the medical professionals) will let everyone down. She literally says it, and I wish the clip would include it.

She says “if we don’t do our best, they hate us”.  All of the anger and grief that our patients feel, sometimes, they projected on to us.

Oh I’m not complaining, many patients don’t, many are grateful,  but some do. … So we have to do our best.

It’s happened to me, when things don’t turn out as others want, I bear the brunt of the anger and rage and helplessness they feel…  Perhaps it’s the ones who feel safest with me who completely lose it, …or perhaps they just have no place to vent when life doesn’t go as expected.  I was supposed to have helped, and I couldn’t.

In coming weeks – I think episodes will portray how Amelia comes to the realization that even our best, is sometimes not enough.

Amelia’s portrayal is deep.  Her emotion is not only the realization of a loss, it is a realization of who we are and are not as medical professionals.

When we realize our skill, and wisdom, and knowledge, is not enough to prevent our own pain, and when we realize this indescribable pain is unavoidable, and we were helpless to prevent it, it can become too much.

The scene is heart breaking, but it’s true. Love hurts, loss hurts, and we grieve. That is life and love.

We grieve – we hurt, we deny, we get angry, we bargain, we withdraw. We feel, and try not to feel …because it feels like more than we can manage. In the end we have to move through.

There is no “correct way”, it just is.  In the end, it is hard and it hurts, and we feel overwhelmed, and lost, and unsure of how or where to move next. In the end, we have to move through it… all.  We have to begin again.