After waffling back and forth for months about whether or not to give K my little compilation of journalling, I finally decided to take the “Nike” advice and, Just Do It. I have been working on cutting down 3 years of writing into something manageable and “to the point” (which is hard with my long winded writing) and to only include what was needed to have the desired effect. The entire time I was making the book, I was still uncertain about whether it was actually going to make it into her hands. I gave the draft to one of my very close friends to read and she thought it was an amazing gift. Everything was done but the introduction and the ending, which I was saving as an explanation for the book. Despite all of this, I still wasn’t completely sure that it was the right thing.
On Friday I had an appointment with my physician wellness psychiatrist. As we often do, we got onto the topic of K and how much I’ve learned and changed because of her. I told her about this little project I was working on and how I just wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. Well, she thought it was amazing… She told me that it would probably be one of the best gifts anyone could receive. What really convinced me, though, was this one statement: “If you can get past the 30 seconds of vulnerability that it will take to give her the gift, you both will be so thankful that you did it.”
A huge part of my personal journey with K has been about overcoming shame and fear, and pushing through the feelings of vulnerability. So why, at the end of this journey, should I let the fear and vulnerability stop me from giving her something so meaningful? With that thought rolling around in my head all weekend, I decided to finish the introductory and concluding remarks and get the book printed.
When I found out that I was moving away, I was devastated for many reasons. I know we’ve discussed all of the obvious and disappointing reasons. However, there is one thing that I haven’t told you about and it makes me exceptionally sad: Leaving you behind is something that I am having a very hard time accepting.
You have been a prominent and instrumental person in my life over the past few years. I’m sure I have told you time and time again how much of a difference you have made in my life. I fear, though, that you can’t understand exactly how much of a difference you have made for me. After the results of the match, I spent a long time trying to think of what I could give you to show my gratitude. Unfortunately, everything I thought of seemed so insignificant and minuscule and wouldn’t come close to what I would want it to mean. I thought to myself, “if only K could really know how much she’s changed my life…”
As I reflected on the time I’ve been in medical school and the time I’ve known you, I realized that I have an extensive amount of personal writing, journaling, and school related self-reflections that have captured much of what I experienced in that time. It occurred to me that by sharing some of my writing with you, you might see for yourself how much you have done for me. I spent a very long time deciding if this was the right thing to do, because sharing my innermost thoughts, feelings, insecurities, and everything else with anyone is scary, and risky, and it makes me vulnerable. Despite my uncertainty, I decided to share it with you anyway. It’s not often that we can “show” someone, in any real way, how much they have changed us. We might say it all the time, but usually the only evidence we have is deep inside of us.
I still remember the exact day and circumstances under which we met. I liked you from that first day and I thought about you often. I was sad when my pregnancy was over because I thought it meant I would never see you again. On my first day of medical school, when they told us about “shadowing,” I thought of you instantly. Despite an intense fear I had that you would turn me away, I used all the courage I had to find you and ask if I could shadow you. And it is here, with shadowing reflections, where I’ve decided to start this book. I have kept it in chronological order and I tried to include entries from the entire 3+ years that this book covers. I hope that as you read through this, you will see how much has changed; And not just changes in me personally, but in how our interactions changed over time, and how our relationship evolved from student/teacher into a mentorship, and finally, into a friendship .
Sincerely, and with Love, G