Yesterday I said good bye to my Grandad, whom I held very close to my heart. It was the first time his death had become real, being so far from home after hearing the news.
Grief is a natural response to a loss. It enables us to process the information at hand, make sense of what happened and come to terms with the uncertain future. It’s something as future doctors we learn about. Moos’ crisis theory, Kubler-Ross stage of grief and illness behaviour. We learn that this is natural for our patients when hearing bad news, but do any of us truly understand being on the otherside? The side where we don’t give names to models of behaviour but simply let our emotions run as nature intended.
Kubler-Ross model describes the stages of grief as: Denial, anger,bargaining, depression and acceptance.
This next part is going to be a bit self-indulgent. A way to make sense of this situation.Feel free to skip over this part.
Denial? Nope, never denied that this ever happened. Anger? Nope, he lived a long and happy life, doing so much for me and others. Bargaining? Nope, I got to see him before he died, albeit a month before, but that is the memory i’ll always remember him by. Depression? Other than an extension of what already existed, I wouldn’t say so. I’m sad but not depressed that i’ve lost him. Acceptance? I accepted this fate many months ago. That’s the thing about knowing about diseases, they become more real, quicker. I knew this was how it was going to end, and when, before most of my family, who were stuck in denial about how long was left. This is not to say i’m not in grief, I miss him, but most of my feelings (anger, annoyance, sadness) are aimed at myself. Once again I dealt with this with the utmost professionalism, being there for the family when they needed me. When in fact, I needed to breakdown.
As said before, medicine is an occupation, not a way of life. Although, once you turn on the mindset, it becomes very difficult to turn off, so while it may not be a way of life, it will change the way you think forever more.