People grieve in different ways. You see this especially clearly in the wake of a tragedy. Some people grieve mightily, volcanically, with sadness and anger and regret issuing forth like a painful eruption. And some people grieve internally but visibly, like and explosion locked in plexi-glass. Some people find solace in the grieving process itself, the mourning process itself a catharsis. And other people don't even know that they're greving, but find little painful reminders of tragedy throughout the course of their normal day, like bleeding from a thousand little papercuts.
I many shades in the spectrum of grieving today, from the somewhat detached grief of someone feeling pain for a family without a father and an institution without a leader; to those who tried to get through their workday with a thin layer of normalcy overlying the constant tears just beneath the surface. I was probably somewhere in the middle. I like to choose the time and place and company of my grief, and so I was trying to get through my day as routinely as possible. And yet it was impossible to get away from it. It was like living in the tropics. Clear skies, but at any given moment, the threat of a storm.
I was in the hospital today, covering a shift in the NICU, and after work, I went to a medical student gathering in rememberance of Dr. Miller. It was a solemn affair, with a lot of silent reflection and private grief. Some students spoke briefly at the podium at the front of the lecture hall, most sat with their heads bowed and remembered. It was very quiet. I couldn't help but to envision how Dr. Miller would have run the grievance session had he been there. Knowing him, he probably would have asked us to break into small groups and talk to each other about how we were feeling, then to come together again in the end and share what we had discussed. He gave a lot of lectures to large audiences, but he was really a small group kind of guy. He liked the intimacy, the sharing that it allowed.
After work, there was an informal gathering of Peds residents at Jason's apartment in Chelsea. I think we all just wanted the company of people to whom we didn't have to explain too much. And it was a good time. We had wine and pizza and gelato, and talked about lots of things. Sometimes the conversation turned to Dr. Miller and the tragedy. And sometimes we talked about other things, like hospital gossip, or the upcoming election, or the latest rivalries on "America's Next Top Model." It was lovely and comforting to be together with people who were there and understood, even without you having to say very much at all.
Currently reading: "The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll." Maybe a little tawdry, but sort of gothic and spooky as biographies go.