My life could be worse

We heard a case today that shook me up. I can't give details because of privacy issues, but it involved the loss of a child in an accident that one of the parent's feels responsible for causing. I don't know how a person survives grief that complicated; the death of a child on top of believing it was your fault. How many times would you replay that moment over and over again in your head, rewriting it so that you don't make the same mistake? I do that now with stupid stuff I should or shouldn't have said or done but the consequences are minor. These are not easy meetings to attend every week--there's always a detail or two that haunts; a brother wanting to lay in the hospital bed next to his dead sibling, a father brushing his daughter's hair before she goes to the OR, someone who walked in the Emergency Room talking to the attendants but who won't walk out again.

So, yeah, I guess my root canal today at 5 isn't that big of a deal.


Karin said…
Yeah, that idea is something that's always haunted me because of how I lost my thumb, which I covered in a post on my blog. I know my mother felt lots and lots of guilt for a long time because of that, especially since my father and grandmother would not-so-subtly remind her of her guilt on occassion. So, it goes beyond the internal guilt one feels. The whole family changes as a result of such tragedies (not that mine was so tragic) and depending on how psychologically healthy the family is to begin with -- mine was unhealthy -- it can make the aftermath so much more painful than the loss itself. I think.

A friend of mine has a sister who is a neurosurgeon. During her residency, one case that really transformed her perspective was when a 20-something guy came in from being hit by a truck. He was conscious, and they were chatting. He was fairly light-hearted and they laughed a bit. She left him, and a senior doctor came to her and said, "He's not going to make it." Apparently, all of his internal organs had been crushed, and there was nothing they could do to help him. Can you imagine such a thing? Being fully conscious and coherent, knowing you're going to die in a few hours?
Dirk the Feeble said…
So knowing the situation, do you think it was their fault? Or is it the standard guilt anyone would have in that situation?

Oh, and turn off comment moderation - that's obnoxious and makes me not want to comment (and it's all about me).
Aimee said…
I wouldn't say it was his fault necessarily, but I could see why he would think that. I'll make up a similar situation. Let's say you live near a semi-busy road and you have a toddler who is always running out the front door. Mostly, you keep the door locked, but one day, you forget and your child runs outside and gets run over and killed. So, it's kind of your fault b/c you didn't have the door locked and also the fault of the driver and of the child for running outside in the first place. But if you'd only locked the door...

sorry about the comment moderator. I don't know how to manage the dumb generic ads I get otherwise. Maybe there's a way to reject those only?

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