Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Thursday, July 21, 2016
    I don't know if you've ever had this experience.

    You go to a funeral. You yourself didn't know the deceased very well, maybe not at all, but you go for one reason or another; maybe your partner was connected in some way with the person who died. Maybe the deceased was the spouse of someone you worked with, or someone your parents knew. At any rate, there you are.

    You find yourself looking around, feeling mildly concerned but detached (you don't have an emotional investment in this event). The service begins. Everyone who speaks has one or more personal anecdotes about how good/gifted/caring this person was. Eventually, you yourself start to weep because of the grief of others and because you realize the world has lost a good and caring person that it could not afford to spare.

    This happened to me today. The wife of one of my co-workers, who had struggled with a long and difficult illness, passed away a few days ago. From everything I heard today, she had a gift for connecting with people (a gift I myself do not have) and cared immensely about her family.

    As I sat there, I speculated for awhile about who would attend my funeral, and then I thought this. If I could accomplish as much as this woman accomplished, and bring a near-stranger to tears at my funeral because of a sense of loss, I would have lived a good life.

    I don't know whether that will ever happen, but I need to try.