Healing Together at Work

December 2019

Every time I dried my eyes and took a deep breath, my eyes would swell again as I saw him through someone else’s eyes. Waves of emotion crashed over and into me as I visualized his mother, father, stepmom, stepdad, grandparents. If I felt a void in my heart with him gone, what were they feeling? Imagining this was overwhelming and I felt lost inside of myself. I was attempting to grasp a reality that was incredibly difficult to face. Scanning my memories of loss, I couldn’t find the means to understand or digest all my coworkers and I were feeling. Yet, allowing ourselves to feel was enough for the time.

They say that grieving is a process, but the loss of a 5-year-old boy to cancer doesn’t seem to fit the traditional five steps of grief. The words “denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance” seem awfully empty and logical. They lack the depth of emotion we felt as we grieved the loss of our patient. As this little boy’s Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Speech Language Pathologist, my coworkers and I learned that coming together to heal, learn, and support the patient’s family was one of the hardest things we’d have to do in our career. The complexity of this grieving felt like a two-part rollercoaster of emotions…

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