Finding light in the darkness...
Updated: Sep 12
When I returned to work after my brother died, I went to see my first patient. I walked into the room of a young man who was dying, and at his bedside was a woman crying. She looked up at me, with tear-stained eyes, and said, "how do I tell my brother goodbye." I knew exactly how... because I had just done it myself. This question caught me off guard, and I felt nervous and fragile, as I carefully selected my words. I sat down next to her, and I shared my story, and I gave her some of the lessons I took from my experience, hoping it would help her.
My brother and I were not talking at the time he was rushed to the hospital; it had been a few years since we had a real conversation. Every day that I was at his bedside, I apologized, and I forgave him, and I said that when he wakes up, we would do better. I promised him that. And then one day he woke up, they removed the ventilator, and he was able to talk. I asked him if he heard me talking to him, and he responded, “I am sorry too.” I know he didn’t say that because he thought he was going to die, he said that because he thought he was going to live.
I have since used those days that I sat at his bedside, to help guide and support others as they do the same. I am realizing now, that while I miss him terribly, and would give anything to have him back, that time with him allowed me to see things from a different perspective, to be a little more sensitive to what others feel, and to relate to those at the bedside in a different, and even better way.
I am sad often, and my grief is not going anywhere, but I feel like his light is constantly shining through me, reminding me that he is and always will be with me. My wound is deep, and it is painful, but his light softens it, while also guiding me every day as I sit at bedsides and comfort others. My time with my brother before he died has reminded me to let go of anger and regret, to use my words in a kind and comforting way, to embrace every moment that I am alive, and to find gratitude and joy in each day.
If I could do anything differently, it would be to go back in time, forgive and forget, and savor the time I could have spent with him. We wasted so much time… Please learn from me and my brother to not waste time… and if someone you love has died, find a way to allow their light to continue to shine through and around you, lighting a path for others so they too can find their way.
"The wound is the place where the light enters you."