I Love You

Cara Anne Poland
Mom was ill for 7 years. She died in the afternoon. That same morning, after years of fertility treatments, I'd heard my son's heartbeat for the first time. Ironically, I'd just given a lecture on end-of-life care. After the lecture, I looked down at my phone-service was always spotty in the doctor's lounge, but that moment revealed a tidal wave of communication. Dozens of missed calls, voicemails, and 73 text messages telling me the news that Mom had died. I told the other chief residents I
more » ... leaving, I needed time. I needed more than that, but for now, time would have to suffice. Three days, they said. Take 3 days. So I did. I took those 3 days. Two weeks later, twirling a cheap, gray BIC pen in my fingers, nausea wracking my body, a few of my colleagues said that I wasn't pulling my weight. Too stunned to form a coherent response, I stayed quiet. Was the nausea from my pregnancy or a silent seething at their behavior? My whole world changed forever in a breath, and I wondered where their compassion was. To this day, I hate those pens, the gray ones. The world, as it does, continued to turn. Seven months later, my son was born, preterm. "Two-twentytwo-twelve" (2/22/2012). Mom would have loved the alliteration, but 2s weren't my number. Seven was, always 7. My life of 7s. Mom died in the seventh month
doi:10.1001/jama.2022.2668 pmid:35289878 fatcat:ahvn7tmqfvdbfaqqtwnimj2esu