Friday, December 16, 2011
my brother's keeper
from twenty feet away i watched as doctors and nurses scrambled to save his life. a nurse jumped on the bed and did chest compressions. doctors administered medications over and over to bring him back. slowly, as if in a dream, a nurse tugged on my arm and told me to move away because i didn't need to see this. but i did. i needed to see it and i would not be budged. a miracle was about to happen....i just knew it. after what seemed like hours (when in all actuality it was only ten minutes or so) a miracle did happen. my brother slipped away from this life and ran headlong into the arms of God. that was three years ago today.
in the chaos of that moment, amidst the crying and the tears, i couldn't tear my eyes away from the people who had been desperately trying to save his life. it wasn't a scene from ER or grey's anatomy, where a handsome young doctor came to us and slowly lowered his mask to tell us that they did all they could. no. there was a full range of human emotion spilling out of the people who had just tried to save him. the doctor looked disgusted and suddenly tired, as if he had just went fifteen rounds in a heavy weight fight and lost at the end. one nurse that walked out looked like she was in shock and was not completely sure of what had just happened. i remember seeing one man who was expressionless, as if he was trying to shove down any form of emotion, because if he could do that, then everything would be okay. the other two nurse that i remember walked out with tears cascading from their eyes shaking their heads in disbelief and telling us over and over that they were so sorry. i was in shock at what i had just witnessed. and the only thing i could think to do was to walk to each one of those people and say, "thank you for doing what you could. thank you so much." i couldn't fathom how they were so emotionally invested in someone that they had known for less than two days. but i knew that i wanted to be like that.
and here i am three years later....to that exact day. some would call that coincidence or fate, but i see it in a much different way. it's like God is looking down at me right now and saying, "remember all that you saw. remember all that you felt. remember through all of that, I sent people there who cared and who loved. in the midst of the hurt, the drama, and the pain, I was there. now, it's your turn". i don't know how i'll be used. i don't know who i'll touch. i don't even know where i'm going to work. what i do know is this: every time i sit down in a room and hold an old woman's hand, i think of jeremy. every time i change someone's bed or dressings, i think of jeremy. every time i look into the grief stricken eyes of a patient's loved ones, i think of jeremy.
today, i graduate. and i'll think of jeremy. in memory at least, i am my brother's keeper.