Dec 1, 2012

In which I remind myself about what matters

After the official end of term (which was the Friday before yesterday), the university gives students a week off before exams begin.  I call this the study week.

My upstairs neighbors call it the play-techno-music-that-shakes-the-walls-until-4-am week.

So on Thursday night, I braided my hair, slipped into bed, and thought, it would be nice if they would just go to bed so I could rest.  We all need to study.  Don't they know what really matters?

But maybe they're on to something...because I haven't been retaining much information anyway.  And from what I hear, Irish students are notorious for their sense of "balance": they can have good rollicking fun followed by a few quality cram sessions, and finish the term with top marks.  (I'm not saying that's healthy - just that it seems to work.)

In the name of healthy study habits, though, I've been using all of my usual "finals week" tricks:

  • turning over my phone and hiding my computer's clock (it's a psychological thing)
  • sitting in a hard-backed chair so I don't get too comfortable
  • playing instrumental music (thank you, Pandora) or white noise
  • granting myself permission to a perpetual cup of coffee
  • reminding myself that doing less than my best has never been an option
Usually, some combination of these strategies rewards me with focused study time.  Not this term, though.  I promise you that I'm not making excuses to slack off.

But grief and studying don't mix.

This week, I'm thinking of you, thinking of summertime, thinking of my mother, thinking of C who gets to sit in the house and sort through your things.  The vintage perfume bottles...the "New York" magnet on the fridge...the cupboard full of knickknacks, the candles lit for P and N, and how do you pack away a life?

If we must, why can't I be there to help?

Would that hurt more than it might help?

Why did you leave a family full of people who love you so?

The point is that I can't stop thinking about everything that's not neurophysiology or endocrinology.  Yes, I need to study because the medical profession is where I belong.  But in the long run, what does all of this studying really matter?

Death matters.  The finality of it matters.  And you might be glad to know that every day, I get a little better at smiling on the outside.  But death is final and that means that beneath every smile is an aching heart, tears lurking just beneath that carefully-crafted surface.

I. feel. everything.

Please come back.  I love you, but I'm in pain.  This hurts.  So I'm asking nicely:


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