I learned about a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them. Although I was given a dry, leathery corpse to dissect in my first term, that was solely a way to learn about human anatomy. Our textbooks had almost nothing on aging or frailty or dying. How the process unfolds, how people experience the end of their lives, and how it affects those around them seemed beside the point. The way we saw it, and the way our professors saw it, the purpose of medical schooling was to teach how to save lives, not how to tend to their demise. The one time I remember discussing mortality was during an hour we spent on The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy’s classic novella. [Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End]
I had a scare yesterday. I couldn’t reach Mum by phone. She calls me when she gets up, and it was noon. No call. No answer.
I took my myriad fears for the 20-minute walk to her apartment and found her dozing in her chair. [insert HUGE breath of relief]
How Mum experiences the end of her Life and how it affects those who love her IS the point. Sometimes I forget or overlook that.
I’ll remember that going forward.
I love you, Currie