One week ago today, my friend Gesa was killed in a car crash. She was in Maryland visiting her family, which she does every year at Easter. Her daughter was in the car and survived, but with some fairly significant injuries. She was my partner at work. We shared a hallway of patient rooms, and saw each others patients. She was the one who taught me to quilt. And I taught her how to follow a dress pattern. She and I were pregnant the same time. We nursed our babies together. Her daughter and Catie are 7 months apart, and play together. We struggled through some tough times at work together. She was who I often went to when I needed advice, not only about patients and medicine, but about kids and husbands and difficult relationships with moms.
I haven't written about this, because I didn't know what to say. I still don't know what to say, but feel compelled to write something. Anything. I think to some degree, I've been in some stage of denial. But today it all hit me. To say that today has been difficult would be an understatement. I saw several patients of hers today, and think I cried seeing each one of them. I've been sitting at my desk crying for over an hour, trying to finish the day's paperwork, and can't bring myself to do it.
I met Gesa 5 years ago, when I was still a resident and she was my attending. She scared the crap out of me. She was incredibly intelligent. And she could curse. Good lord, could she curse. We really became friends when she found out I wanted to learn to quilt. She has been an enormous source of support for me over the past 5 years. I hope that I provided some for her. She was who saw Jack when he was sick with the penny episode a couple of weeks ago. I don't even know if I really properly thanked her for taking care of him. She left for Maryland the next day. And now I'll never have that chance.
Gesa always said we should go to Washington DC together sometime. Now I'm going, but for something entirely different. To say goodbye. Her funeral is this weekend. G is going with me, and the kids are staying here, part of the time with my parents and part with a couple of friends. I don't think I've ever hugged my kids and G as much as I have these past few days. I have this sense of urgency that I need to make sure they know I love them. A sense of urgency that I ought to have every day. We, or at least I, seem to take things for granted. There will be tomorrow, next week, next month, next year to do...whatever it may be. But today may be it. And I'm reminded we need to make the most of it. This has really become crystal clear this week. Not that this should be the way that it gets drilled into my head, though. Somehow I feel better getting this all written down, even if none of you make it to the end of this.
So long, Gesa. Thanks for everything. And I'll miss you like crazy.