Medical school provides you with the basic scientific knowledge you need to become a doctor. The 6 years of specialty and subspecialty training gives you the experience and the confidence to go out in practice. But despite all the difficult cases you have to face being a doctor, the one thing no medical school or residency ever teaches, is how to say goodbye. Especially to one of your own. To family.
This has been a long, hard battle for Buddy these last 4 years. One that he has fought with much grace and fortitude. However, because things were still progressing, a few months ago he made the decision to cease his chemo. And so, the primary purpose of our trip home this time was to see Buddy and his wife. Where we go from here will be uncharted territory. These last few days, we were able to meet up with him and his wife, and caught up on things. Shared memories of the good old days, when we were roomates for those 5 crazy years. Did so much together that for the longest time, many thought we were gay and were an item. We reminisced of the time we played with Coke+Mentos . Or the many Malaysian potlucks we hosted, or the Halloween pumpkin carving sessions we did.
Tonight, we had dinner with him before we left for the journey south tomorrow. And though unspoken, it's pretty clear what we were thinking: Is this goodbye?
Where will the road lead us next? No one knows. How would metastatic esophageal cancer behave in a 30+ year old? But it was difficult seeing him suffer from the pain. It seemed almost too much of a coincidence that Boyz II Men's "It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday" came on the radio in the restaurant as we were wrapping things up. Kris and I could not keep our eyes dry as we got up to hug them and bid them farewell.
I catch myself wondering why life seems so unfair. Why is it that I get to go on with my life, and start a family, while they've had their lives put on hold while they fight this battle? I feel a tinge of guilt, with a dash of anger and bitterness.
What's next? Who knows.
But if there is anything inspiring in all this, it is the overwhelming amount of love and faith surrounding them. Their love for each other. Of their families and friends for this wonderful couple. Their faith. And if there is one thing I'd ask of you, regardless of your beliefs and faith, is to say a little prayer for him and his family.