Today a patient died. I met him in the ER just five short days ago. At that time he was talking, breathing, living. But then he got sick.Very sick. And surgery and medicine and a stay in the ICU could not fix his failing organs or return him to health. His family watched in disbelief as each day he got sicker and sicker... And today they had to say goodbye.
As a doctor in training I am privileged to be with patients all stages of life and sometimes even death. Today is a day to remember and as such I am reflecting on all the patients that I have met whose lives I glimpsed before they were over. I will remember... the smiles, the jokes, the lives of my patients.
I will remember them because to remember is to bear witness, and this is something I can do.
---This day in September, ten years ago started normally enough for most people. Preparing for work, boarding a plane, going about their day to day business... no one knew what unimaginable things the day would bring. I was in Boston at college, in class and not privy to the first tower being hit.... but as the news started to make its way around campus and throughout the world my would be husband came to meet me and as class ended I walked out to see him standing in the hall, waiting and in the instant I saw him, I knew.
I didn't loose a family member and I only vaguely knew people affected by the attacks, at least at that time.... However we later moved to NYC and then I met countless people who had been there, witnessed the towers falling, walked over a bridge to safety or fled the city afterwards. I know families that decided they could no longer live in NYC and I know people who never-not in a million years- considered leaving.
New Yorkers have solidarity when it comes to 9/11. So today I partially feel like I'm on the wrong coast.
People still talk, people still remember, but the events are not quite so raw, not quite so close to home... Of course those that lost their lives on 9/11 were not all New Yorkers. And really it doesn't matter where one is today or where one was ten year ago. What matters is that we remember for those affected by 9/11 and especially for those who lost their lives.
It has been a decade, but we still remember. It is one thing we can do.