Three years later, I have more thoughts on these words:
Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
To show this final honour to the dead,
And speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
Since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
Now at least take these last offerings, blessed
By the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
And, for eternity, Brother, ave atque vale
‘Hail and Farewell.’
My healing of grief became interrupted. Medically speaking, it would be called complex grief, at least it was in the old DSM IV. My dad's illness was and still is a battle as evidenced by a recent trip to the ER. My son's illness has taken an immense toll on me. And all three of these are intimately tied to my career choice. How does one even begin to unwind the different threads? I'm not sure it's even wise to do that at this point. Pull on a thread long enough and there may be nothing left.
I was speaking with a faculty member more interested in the philosophy and humanity of being a physician that was offering me a sympathetic ear. I gave him the abbreviated version. He asked me, "how are you still here? I mean, med school is stressful enough but what you've been through...." I had no answer. I still don't. Though I promised him that if I ever figure it out, I'll let him know. I do know the words above will always fill the space in my life with tears that my brother occupied.