An Open Letter to My Dad’s Doctors
I know that being a doctor cannot be easy. Almost every day, you make choices that will have a lasting impact on the lives of patients and their families. When operating, their lives are in your hands. One mistake can end a life as quickly as the answer can save one. I respect what you do because I couldn’t do it. That doesn’t make me feel any better about you.
I want you to know that I’m angry. When my dad left for his surgery on April 4th, my siblings and I thought he would be coming home. There was no warning, no indication that his cancer had gotten uncontrollable. I didn’t think that the hug he gave me would be the last one. I didn’t know that, only two days later, I would be holding his hand as he died. I know that I shouldn’t blame you, but it’s hard to do anything else some days. I need someone to blame because the anger doesn’t go away.
I want you to know that I’m hurting. For three days, I sat in a hospital room with my dad and our family and his friends. We waited and watched as everyone tried to make his last few days comfortable. I listened to people apologize while I prayed for some miracle. When I realized that one wasn’t coming, I held his hand. I promised him that we would be alright, that he could let go. I was seventeen, sitting in a hospital room and watching him die when I should’ve been thinking about prom or graduation. That kind of pain sticks to your heart. I still feel it.
Most importantly, I want you to know that I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the dedicated doctors and nurses that made him comfortable. I’m thankful for the kind words that you had for our family. You treated me like an adult when you answered my questions. You understood that this moment would impact the rest of our lives and encouraged us to make the decision that was best for Dad.
Your job is not an easy one. It is easy to hate you, though, because I will remember the moment his soul left the Earth for the rest of my life. I thought that hating you is how this letter would end, but that feeling faded by the third sentence I wrote. You don’t deserve my hatred or my anger or my pain. Cancer does. What you deserve is my thanks for everything that you did to help and my respect for how difficult the job is that you do every day.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making his last days comfortable. Thank you for trying to make us comfortable too.