Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Slice of Life: Giving and Losing

Yesterday I donated Jack’s unused syringes of blood thinner, compression stockings, and medications to his hemotologist, vascular surgeon, and primary doctor. It was harder than I expected.
            I’d called in advance to make sure the doctors could use them, since I didn’t want to throw away all these supplies unless I had to. I would always rather give things away than add them to the landfill. And all the doctors said yes.
            My first stop was the vascular doctor’s office, in the hospital where Jack had spent many days. I felt okay emotionally until I got off the elevator and walked down the hallway to the doctor’s office. There were the gurneys lined up in the hall, waiting for patients. There was the water fountain where Jack had drunk when he was last there for the doctor to check for clots in his collateral veins. We’d thought it was good news that no clots were found, without considering the continuing question: what was causing Jack’s edema? Sadness built up before I walked into the office, where a young woman was unfamiliar with my situation and had to ask a supervisor. It’s harder to hand them over to someone who didn’t know Jack, so this young woman’s “I’m sorry for your loss” feels pro forma.
            It’s easier at the hemotologist’s office, perhaps because it’s a new space. But also because the hemotologist’s office manager is sincerely sorry about Jack, and I know she’s seen him many times and that he wasn’t just another patient. And at his primary doctor’s office, I feel I’m among old friends – she’s my primary doctor as well. Everyone knew Jack and cared about him. Our doctor even came out and gave me a few minutes between her patients.
            I feel like I am donating a piece of Jack, and I want to know who will get what he had, what their life will be like, that they will live a long time. But I also feel Jack’s loss in the act of giving. He no longer needs his pills, his compression stockings, his syringes. They will no longer be in our home, now just my home.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a gift you are giving to someone else.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a gift you are giving to someone else.

  3. This had to be a difficult slice to write and hard donations to make (even though you know they will bless others). Blessings during this difficult time.

  4. The heartbreak of your loss comes through your words. So wonderful that you can donate the unused supplies. I am truly sorry for the loss of your husband.