Dear Lou,

Not everyone knew you as you were, but I did. I tried to share that with them. But, I understand it isn’t easy. It’s easy to become jaded. Still, I hope you know that I remember you from before.

My heart aches when I think about you. I am saddened by what happened to you, yes. A combination of poor genes as well as, perhaps, a long chain of not the right care. One in the few. You were unlucky. I’m sorry.

You almost made me start crying, you know. When, for days, your voice was so hoarse you couldn’t communicate, which usually you would accept with a sad shrug of your shoulders, or a pitiful grin that seemed to communicate this sentiment that, maybe, life was but playing some massive joke on you.

But the one night I cared for you, 4am, when I walked into your room and saw the panic rising in your chest, your eyes blinking too fast, the swelling, urgent need to just communicate and you couldn’t — I hurt for you the most. Silent agony. Drowning. It’s always the worst. I’m sorry I didn’t know what to stay. I felt useless, standing there: literally the only thing I could think of was take off my glove and hold your hand. And you looked at me, and somehow — somehow — after multiple tries, pleading you to keep trying, I was able to make out a hoarse, “I want to thank you for everything.”

It’s quite pitiful, this person I have been lately. Sad, weepy, feeling like I’m always struggling against the tide. I overthink even though I know better. I think the universe sent you to me, instead of the other way around. You remind me of what I can do; the power and influence I still have, if only I know where to look for it. It isn’t reputation, or social standing. It isn’t my job, my department, my title, my money, or all the knowledge in the world. It’s love, communication, and acceptance. It’s patience, understanding, and openness. How silly I am to forget, so often.

Thank you, Lou. I hope to see you soon.




Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.

– Paramahamsa Yogananda

September 25

Tomorrow is an important day. At least, as of tonight it is. Who knows. Nothing may come of tomorrow. A year from now, I may not remember the date, what we did, what is currently so prominent in my mind. But tonight, I am hopeful.

It’s funny, how many emotions can run through you in a single day. In a single hour. It’s something I noticed in our car ride yesterday (…was that really only yesterday?). Gliding along the tree-lined streets, filled with daydreams of tomorrows to come, you recalled to me, “I had a patient last night. It was one of the saddest cases I’ve ever experienced.” And how, in the span of two minutes, you recounting the details, our daydreams of tomorrow were accompanied by the heartbreak that this world contains: all the sadness, unluckiness, histories on a small scale that occur without rhyme or reason. All the pain coming this person’s way. Things that people will never hear of, except people like us. People who have had the “in,” like us.

I have mixed emotions about this club.

We looked at each other, surprised but not surprised at the tears in each other’s eyes. We parked the car, took a breath, wiped them away, and walked inside. Fifteen minutes later, I laughed delightedly as I fiddled with the paws of a cat I am painfully allergic to, which I should learn to resist. And I felt like we brushed shoulders with destiny… or so I hope. And the daydreaming continued.

Is it weak to experience such emotions intensely, rapidly, and move along? To be able to completely expend your energy of emotion, and then reset? Is it weak to weep over dragons slain, cattle mistreated, humans whose lives have changed forever? Perhaps a good rule of thumb is to skip every other emotion and maintain a bit more level ground in the process, I don’t know. But sometimes, I can’t help but feel like someone’s got to feel them.

Tomorrow is a big day, or at least we’ll see.

Bedtime prayers

because this is me — honest, and real, and contemplative — tonight. A sneak peek inside my head, currently.

Dear God,

Please give me compassion. Compassion in how I approach the world around me. Compassion to drive me to choose sustenance over convenience, to remember the earth we come from and the ways we can still help her. Help me fuel my desire to produce less waste and trash, and to become a more mindful consumer. To choose quality over quantity. To resist materialistic urges. Help me to choose compassion in the food choices I make, and to remember the little lives I love that can be spared through my willpower of kindness. Help me to not take people’s teasing or pressures too seriously. Help me to choose kindness.

Dear God,

Please give me courage. Courage to face graduate school, to pursue my dreams of becoming the best medical professional I can be. Even if it is overwhelming — the amount of knowledge I’ll be expected to know. Even if my road would be so much smoother if I was content to just stay put. Give me courage to face the unknown, even if it means I might not keep my job. Even if it means not having a steady income at some point. Give me the courage to remember my dreams. I know it’s the only thing that gives us satisfaction in the end.

Dear God,

Please teach me forgiveness. The forgive myself and remember, more often, that I am not perfect. That perfection is not never making mistakes, but the ability to learn from and let go of the mistakes I make, as I make them. This is so difficult for me: email wording I feel I should have improved, interactions with my sisters I could have approached better, my temper with Giles that I wish never dictated my actions. I sit and ruminate over all of these, every time, and am so regretful and embarrassed that it sometimes consumes me. Why? What’s the point of all the regret? I’m better than I was a year ago. And a year ago, I was better a person than I was five years ago.

A few nights ago I made a mantra for myself: “You are trying, and that is enough.” I say it over and over to myself throughout the day. Lately, it’s been my biggest solace.

Dear God,

Just one more thing. In my desire to live more minimally, I almost donated the music box she bought me so long ago. By divine intervention, perhaps, I didn’t. I couldn’t. The other morning, it played its tiny, delicate tune on its own from the spot in the corner. I don’t know what this means, if anything — only that it touched me. It gave me reassurance that she’s always guiding me. Or maybe she approves. So thank you for that as well.

“You are trying, and that is enough.”

“You are trying, and that is enough.”

“You are trying, and that is enough.”

Thank you for your protection. Thank you for allowing me the catharsis I needed in writing this. I did need it. But you knew that already I’m sure.



Yesterday, I made a promise to myself that I’d be a better person tomorrow.

Well, tomorrow has arrived and I swear to God, I’ll do something good tonight. I’m tired of going in circles with myself, angry with myself, wishing I could be stronger or more hopeful. No room for that tonight. Tonight, I will be better.


Rolling trains

In class, Jai asked us to visualize what it is we hold on to. An intention, a dream, a person. Imagine it, savor it, and keep that image close. So often we talk about letting go – of fear, of anger, of grudges, of people and things that no longer serve us. But what about holding on? There is a lesson to be learned in that, as well. Jai said, Imagine you are clutching a rope that is attached to something. Is it attached to a train that has begun to move, or is it attached to the edge of a cliff from which you dangle? And so I ask myself: Is this person a mountain cliff, ever-constant and unmoving, or are they a rolling train, picking up speed, moving away from me? There is wisdom in choosing what we hold on to. And wisdom in knowing when to let go.