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edu180atl: allison rose 10.24.12

My lesson learned for today is not uplifting or fun; it is not pretty or elegant. It is a lesson that we do our best to hide from our children and ourselves. My lesson learned for today: Life is Not Fair.

We come up with lots of ways to hide that truth – give medals to everyone crossing the finish line, step in on the playground to protect a smaller child, etc. But really, life is not fair.

It certainly was not fair to the mother and teenage son I saw in clinic. Tucked under her arm, like one might carry yesterday’s newspaper or a gossip magazine, was a thick paperback book, and its weight seemed to make her tilt, just a little. “Childhood Cancer: A Parent’s Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers.” The title itself hides nothing. Its weight lies in its neutrality – it is not good, it is not bad, it just is.

I don’t have a very happy, uplifting way to end this story – my interaction with this mother and son was actually very short. As the student I listened as the doctor asked a few questions, did a quick exam and scheduled them for surgery. And they walked out of the office, mom toting her reading material and son carrying his school backpack, and life moved on.

About the author:  Allison is a mother of two boys and a medical student. One of her favorite things: reading a good book with a hot cup of coffee on a quiet morning. (She never gets to do this!)

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Stephen G. Kennedy #

    I applaud your candid, straightforward confrontation with life-as-it-is. Sometimes what we learn is that life is just life — fair or otherwise. Not everything we live is joy and sweetness. Thank you for describing “what is.” It helps us see what we see, and know that a complex story resides beyond our understanding.

    October 24, 2012
  2. Robert Frost wrote that he could sum up life in three words, “It goes on.” Its relentless pace often seems impassive to our struggles, pain, or desires, telling us only to soldier on.

    October 25, 2012

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