Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Overwhelming sadness

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.


Lorette said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. I completely understand the sense of urgency you feel towards your loved ones. It does sometimes take an awful tragedy to wake us up to what is right in front of us. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

lisa said...

I am so sorry you lost a friend, a mentor, a coworker and so much more. Hopefully everything she taught and shared with you will keep her alive in your memory and your work. My thoughts are with you.

Erica said...

I don't even know what to write other than I'm so very sorry that you lost such a dear friend. She will be missed by many. Please let me know how things are going for you, and we'll get together soon.

C. said...

I am remembering that brutal month we shared on trauma surgery, in and out of all those ICU rooms. No one ever had their car, their computer, their designer clothes, or any status symbol in there--only family & dear friends. We come into this world with nothing but the people who love us, and we go out much the same way.

I am so sorry.

Kim said...

You're in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend. I'm here if you need to talk.


Kat with a K said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. You and Gesa's other family and friends will be in my prayers.

Heidi said...

I will be praying for you as you heal this loss, and for her family especially. I am so sorry.

Anonymous said...

You hug your kids tighter and try to tell your spouse how much they mean to you, that's how you honor the memory of someone that touched your life. Every day is a gift and should be cherished as such.

Barn's burned down, now I can see the moon.


Gina said...