There's a lot of things I can easily forgive, and the rest of it I can usually let go. But there are realities that just can't be ignored, much less forgotten. I can't unsee the agony and helplessness on a parent's face as they gaze at their dying child, quite literally unable to do anything but watch as the life fades from their eyes.
I can't unhear the panic and fear in a patient's voice as they're struggling to breathe, to cling to life, to fight even when you know all is but lost and it's just a matter of time. I can't tune out the sound of a flatlining heart monitor after yet another code, another mortality, another life snuffed out of existence because they arrived at the hospital too late. They sought medical care too late. They relied on false advertising and believed inaccurate data just because someone in a position of power told them to. They put their trust in the wrong person, followed someone who doesn't deserve to be followed, with disastrous results. And it's not just one, or two, or a handful of cases. It's an entire community, entire towns, entire cities affected by a single person's false claims.
It is exceedingly easy to be detached when you don't see the reality with your own eyes, when you don't have to watch family members break down in front of you as they are confronted with the ugly truth. It's easy to see these people as numbers, statistics on paper or on a screen, when you don't have to be the one helping to restart their dying heart, and failing. And these things could have been avoided. These lives didn't have to be lost. But our voices are drowned out by people who think they know better, people who have never even set foot outside their comfortable lives, much less inside a hospital.
I don't claim to know it all, I know that I've only just started my journey with still so far to go and still so much to learn. I am very much aware of my youth and naivete. But my age does not belie my experience, and in the comparatively short time I've been here, I've felt the full spectrum of human emotion within these walls.
I've witnessed the battles my colleagues and friends have had to face, the burdens they carry, the tears they've shed, the emotions they've sometimes had to suppress for the sake of being professional, the countless sacrifices made for the sake of our vocation. I've marveled at their daily successes, rejoiced in their victories, no matter how small, awestruck at the little joys and tiny miracles of life. I've seen how fiercely they cling to hope, smiling through the pain and finding reasons to laugh through the overwhelming sorrow.
Their souls shine incandescent with the strength of their hearts and all the good they do in the world, not to say they're anywhere near perfect, but they keep trying despite all the odds against them. They are superheroes, but still very much human, with frustrations and doubts and regrets.
Human as we are, we can't keep everything bottled up forever, no matter how hard we may try. So we voice out our thoughts, unload our emotions, vent out our feelings, sometimes not in the healthiest of ways. But to attack a person's character in petty retaliation to their freedom of expression is beyond childish, beyond wrong, beyond immoral.
And yet, despite all the injustice happening in our little corner of the world, when we want to clamor and rage and shout in righteous indignation, we are told instead to be quiet, to be still, to turn the other cheek and carry on. We are told to just keep silent and not to complicate our lives. Sound advice perhaps coming from people who don't understand, or who don't want to understand, that frankly, we are on the brink of losing it.
Losing our drive to wake up in the morning, losing our motivation to show up everyday, losing the will to keep going because the brutal truth of the matter is, we are beyond fighting a losing battle, we are simply dealing with the casualties of a war long lost. This is simply the collateral damage of years, decades, centuries of prioritizing the wrong things, of putting importance on shallow, superficial issues and ignoring the real ones, of greed and corruption and basic lack of human decency.
It is agonizing having to bear witness to everything wrong and seeing the people who are in the position to do something about it do nothing, and being told to do nothing, to say nothing, to feel nothing. It's heartbreaking, soul-crushing, mind-shattering. I welcome the numbness that is sure to follow. In the meantime I can only feel pain.