He sat down, head in hands, downward glance
She looked up, tears in eyes, uneven stance
I walked in, low on sleep, high on caffeine
They walked by, on the street, young love, just teens
He stood up, paper in hand, PowerPoint prepared
She fell down, learning to walk, not nervous, not scared
I walked in again, ready to listen, ready to care
Do I absorb it, do I deflect it... do I share?
The first one has a heavy load, family stuff, he's overwhelmed
The second one feels trapped, but she's 83, where would she go?
The third one is me, with my own load and I'm trying to figure it out
Do I carry their burdens or give them back? I was never told...
The fourth one is the big boss and the fifth one was once us
While the overwhelmed man and the trapped senior unfurl
It's good to remember that someone somewhere is in charge
and someone somewhere is just a happy little girl
The teens are just teens and I remember how that used to feel
The butterflies, the headrush, the lovesongs, the thrill
While I dance between empathy and boundary and pharmacy
Someone somewhere is getting married or at a funeral or in the hospital nursery
And so I sit here replaying today's events and my children's faces and my own dreams
Do I let the man's troubles and the woman's sorrow fall off of me?
Am I a sponge? A shield? Sand through a sieve?
Where do I put it? How do I move it? What do I need?
Dear Therapist once asked me "how do you feel? what are you feeling?"
and I just stared. I ask that question, Madame. How do you dare!
She brought out the preschool book and reminded me the names:
anger, sadness, anxious, scared, and my favorite- SHAME!
So I ask you, my brothers, my sisters, my friends
Where do we put it? How do we move it? Where does it end?
We are connected. Are we a puzzle? Passing ships on the same sea?
I am you and you are me and we are thee.
What is the answer? I need the code. I need the key.
I will take today.
You take tomorrow.
Let's give her next week.
He can do the dark nights.
They can do the long fights.
Let's share the joy and spread out the misery.
Next time you see him.
Next time you see her.
Next time you see me.
Remember the pleasantries are just a mask atop the real things.
The real beauty of the patient-provider relationship is the back and forth.
Never stop sharing with us.
It's why we got into medicine.
But if you love us or if you live with us and we are quiet or distant...
We are simply trying to figure out where to put it.