Surprisingly, the most tragic part of the funeral was not the death of this baby girl but her life –or rather, how her father spent his life during her short one. For the entire time that I’ve know Gavin (my husband’s best friend and the baby’s father), he has been in process of becoming a doctor. During the funeral, he spoke at the pulpit, with a passionate and justified anger:
“I won’t swear, but because the medical system thinks it’s okay to work someone 90 hours a week in residency, I only got to see a time-lapsed snapshot of Amelia’s life. There were days that the only time I saw her was when I poked my head in her room while she was sleeping.”
Gavin mourned not only the death of his girl, but the loss of her life.
I’ve written here about a similar idea that dawned on me when we first heard of Amelia’s death. But hearing her father’s situation (NINETY HOURS?!?!?!) broke my heart in deeper compassion for those that have lost — truly lost, a child. Time gone cannot be retaken.
Gavin has $300K in school debt and a family to support. This years-long life-overtaking that becoming a doctor demands is his choice, yet he likely feels very entrapped by it. Is the end of being a doctor worth the means of losing each day of his childrens’ lives?
For those of you who are not entrapped, for those of you who are able to look closer than the end to re-evaluate your means, I beg of you, in the words of Thoreau, to suck all the marrow out of your life this day.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”