I don't have a TMM for this week so I am reaching back into the archives to April 28, 2011. I have always liked when providers write poems and so I share this gem with you, written by then family medicine resident at Barre Family Health Center, Katy Brodski-Quigley (who is now doing urgent care.)
She was awarded Third Prize in the UMASS Gerald F. Berlin Prize for Creative Writing Contest for this poem. I think it captures what we become witness to when grief is occurring around us.
You can write with comment to Katy at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the listserv directly. Enjoy.
Grieving for a baby
is a whole-body experience,
The ache of sorrow charges
in a frenzy of motion.
Eyes leak fluid clear and hot,
like seawater in sunshine.
Throat closes on sobs,
tight as a mousetrap.
Chest burns with breath unspent,
churning against the throat
like river dammed in rain season.
Breasts leak milk, warm and smooth like chocolate, white as clouds,
swell up with treat unspent,
Belly cramps on emptiness,
bleeds life into uncaring cloth,
weeping for life carried,
Legs buckle, weakened suddenly by the too-light weight
of a body deprived of purpose.
Heart shakes, shivers, shrivels,
like moth in fire,
like paper in candleflame,
like birchbark in frost,
stretches to meet what the body craves -
one soul lost, beyond reach, beyond sorrow,
above the rainbow of hopes,
one soul present, frozen in pain, molten in anguish, reaching out
to share grief as trees joined by root share rain.
The Thursday Morning Memo is intended to complement the Monday Memo and usual list serve communication by providing communication of "clinical success stories" within the Department. Feel free to post responses to these stories on the listserv, realizing that they will first be directed through Hugh Silk, the Thursday Morning Memo moderator. Please note that all submissions, original stories or responses, must be free of HIPPA identifiers to preserve confidentiality.
If you wish to submit an item to the Thursday Morning Memo, please email it to Hugh Silk. Please write the Memo as a short essay, reflection, poem or story about your clinical/teaching success (keep it to one page). Please de-identify the patient or learner. Please ask the patient or learner if it is OK to write about them.