“You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
~Johnathan Safran Foer
There is a current radio commercial that I hear every day on my drive to and from work. I can’t even remember what the commercial is advertising, but it stands out in my head because of its opening line:
“Oh November, you’re not a bad month, you’re just one month and one hour too long.”
This line could not express my current sentiment any more accurately: The end of this month cannot come soon enough. It has been just over a month since I originally set to work on my November “Owl” gift for K, and subsequently the theme for my NaBloPoMo challenge. A month ago, I had a very different idea of how these last few weeks were going to go; It was going to be a good month… or so I thought… Instead, this November has turned out to be one of my most difficult and depressing months of this year (and that says a lot, I think). I feel like the theme of my NaBloPoMo challenge, and interpretations behind the quotations I chose for it, have radically changed from a sense of “hopeful optimism” to one of “barely surviving.” I need NaBloPoMo to be over 😦
I have found the last few weeks (if not most) of this challenge to be difficult to follow through with. I am mentioning this today because I feel like today’s quotation almost embodies the notion behind why I chose to carry it out through to the end of the month. The events that have taken place this month have been challenging and saddening in a way I could have never predicted (nor imagined ever happening). However, when I think of why these events have been so difficult to endure, it is because everything about them has brought so much happiness, joy, and meaning to my life. You could almost say that I have made some of the worst realizations in the past month, but only because everything at the root of those realizations existed because I broke down barriers and allowed myself to fully experience happiness at some point before now.
Obviously visiting my old “home” at the beginning of the month was difficult – and I’m sure I have exhausted all ways of expressing my grief over the events that fed into this difficulty. I have stated multiple times that the last few years that I lived there marked the first time in my life where I ever felt truly and completely happy – deep down. I maintain that sentiment, even now. I certainly hope that one day I can get back to that place inside of me.
What was most difficult and unexpected, however, was the abrupt change in my interactions with K. We have gone from talking (texting/email/fitbit conversations) almost daily, to barely having any communication for over two weeks. I still don’t know what has happened, really. I am saddened, hurt, concerned, mourning, uncertain, and mostly just confused. I’m confused about how this all came about, what I did wrong (if anything), if I was appropriate or inappropriate (now or in the past), what this whole situation means to me, how I should best cope with everything that I’m feeling, and what our friendship is going to look like as a result of all of this.
In retrospect, I find it quite ironic that I chose this quotation for today’s card for K. Five years ago today, on November 27, 2009, I walked into a new obstetrician’s office to have my first prenatal screening ultrasound. K was the doctor I saw that day: her friendliness, kindness, and compassion were instantly impressionable and I walked away from that appointment with the feeling that she could really be someone I would like (as well as the very first picture of my peanut…that would later be named A).
Nov 27 will always be the day that I met you. Kind of cheesy, maybe a little twisted – but obviously you made an impression on me. Can you believe that was 5 years ago? I can’t!
Maybe in another 5 years we will be saying the same thing about now… let’s hope so.
I know I’ve told you think before, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for Nov 27/09. Thanks for being such a caring and compassionate Dr.
If you had sat me down on this day 5 years ago, maybe right after I walked out of that office, and told me that K and I would have the kind of friendship that we’ve had for the past few months (year maybe), I would have never believed it. The scariest part is that if at the same time you told me that the friendship would only be for a short while and that in exactly 5 years I would be experiencing what I am right now, I probably would have said that it wouldn’t be worth it. I probably would have never made so much of an effort to make a mentor and a friend out of K. Can you imagine what my life would look like if I never had those moments with K?
I am currently very sad, but only because I experienced so much happiness in my “adventures” with K. I learned so much about myself, about friendship, about medicine, about everything reall, and most importantly, I made memories that I will always treasure. If I had the choice, 5 years ago, to protect myself from this sadness, I would have never lived through so many life-changing and wonderful experiences that brought me where I am today.