I think I have been crying for five days. I know what you are saying “Come on kiddo! Smile….It ain’t THAT bad…” I see your smile. But it is THAT bad. You are gone. And no one knows why. All we know is that one second you were on this earth and the next you were taken from so many who loved you.
Can I say that to you now? I LOVED you. I LOVED your heart, your spirit, your kindness. I LOVED how deeply you cherished Lori and your amazing kids. I LOVED how you NEVER had a bad thing to say about anybody. But mostly I LOVED you for believing in me.
Remember that first day we met? I was fresh out of residency–not even thirty yet. You decided to give this “young lady doctor” a try. You believed in me as a doctor then and kept on believing in me for 15 years. We did good you and me.
Then, I left that practice and you immediately came along…Again, you believed in me as a doctor. “Oh no! I don’t care where you move to kiddo, you are not getting rid of me! I will be your patient for life!”
You let me give you shots in your feet. I was so nervous the first time. After all, you were a ROCKSTAR runner. The first time you told me about Broad Street I remember thinking “Who runs ten miles…in 70 minutes???” Well, YOU did. OVER and OVER again. I remember saying a silent prayer as I put that needle in your foot…“Please God, don’t let me screw up this man’s feet..he needs to run!”
When I started Team CMMD and decided to run Broad Street for the American Cancer Society and asked you to join us, you did not hesitate for a second. You responded to my email right away. “Anything you need Doc, I’m there!” Three times you ran that race with my team. You encouraged nervous folks to join us. You told everyone that we would be fine. That we could do it. You believed in us..as a team.
But then you….died. Dying by definition is a failure of health. As your doctor, that was the one thing I was tasked with: keeping you healthy.
I feel like I failed you.
I don’t know why you are gone EK. The world will never know. All I know is that I would do anything to see your smiling face again. The very last words you said to me were about the Philadelphia Magazine Health Hero Challenge. You told me not to sweat it…you believed in me. “You will always be MY hero,” you said.
This week, as I hung Chris’s coat up I thought about what it must be like for L to touch your clothes knowing you will never wear them. Then, I ran to him and hugged him. I told him I loved him. I thanked him for being a tremendous father, an eternal optimist and my partner in this crazy life. I told him I was sorry that I don’t make enough time for him. I held him and wouldn’t let go, even as he started to squirm. I made a mental recording of the squealing from the kitchen as Chris chased Hadley around. Normally, that noise would have aggravated me. Today, I cherish it.
You know me, I always have to have an action plan. So, here’s what I am going to do.
1. On May 1, 2016 I will take the BIGGEST, strongest, meanest Team CMMD down Broad Street in your honor with you in my heart.
2. This book I wrote that I was telling you about will not just be dedicated to Chris, but to another very special man in my life…YOU.
3. I will spend the next 5 months working my butt off to get in the best shape of my life. I will run Broad Street as fast as I can. I won’t be able to do it in 70 minutes, but I will do my absolute best and rally my team to do the same…for you.
Do you see what you have done for me? For fifteen years, you believed in me….as a doctor, as a runner, but mostly, as a friend.
EK, I am no hero. YOU are. I will miss you more than you know.
With Eternal Gratitude,
Your Young Lady Doctor.