A little over a week ago, I was at a team huddle meeting at work. My boss was telling a story about the talent show/variety show at a local medical college for it's first graduating class. It is not so much of the talent show from elementary school, as most people who were performing were quite talented in their performing arts. It serves as a celebration beyond the sciences before the students have Match Day to find out their assignments for residency. My boss was briefly cluing people into the Match Day process, where the medical students go on interviews for residency and then the students and the hospital programs rank their preferences. All of this information is submitted into a computer program for the entire country and it does its computing and matches most all of the students to a program. Then on Match Day, each student's name is called and they are given an envelope to open and find out where they will go for residency. Match Day is in late March, and most students have about six weeks to finish classes and pack up and move for the next step. The talent show/variety show is an opportunity to take pause and celebrate before the mayhem begins and everyone goes their separate ways.
My boss was very impressed and touched by the talent show/variety show experience. As he was describing it, I found myself swept away by an emotional wave that took me back to a place I did not anticipating revisiting. My eyes started to get teary and I had to look away and not make eye contact with anyone in the room. All with that brief summary of Match Day, it took me back to the time when I was with A~ and going through that process. It felt like my past life was flashing in snippets before me, with the excitement, nervousness and wonder about what was going to be the next chapter in our lives together. I remember when he came home after the first round of interviews. He was bounding with a brightness of fantastic possibility that we did not realize was before us. Our initial expectation was that he was going to probably rank Pittsburgh or Cleveland as top choices. But when he came home and told me about some of the other programs and what they had to offer, I felt it was important to be open to those other choices. So, I went with him for other interviews and second looks to check out other cities and take it all into consideration. It was a beautiful time when A~ and I really worked as a team and he included me in his career choices because it was going to impact our life together. We were giddy with the new found adventure before us, and we were scared to let our parents down if we ended up in another city. We tried to buffer the news, but we were also cautious about sharing too much because we did not want them to try to convince us otherwise. This had to be our decision. It was a chance to see how we could make it as a couple, and it would push us to grow in ways we could not imagine.
And so I sat there with all of these warm, bubbling memories of a life past, a life now gone. As quickly as these moments surfaced, along came the crashing flood of sadness and grief. I thought back to my old self, feeling sad for her not knowing what was to come. How brave and trusting she was in her relationship with A~ and feeling like they were on the edge of something incredible. All of the sacrifice, the dreaming and the determination of really making it together with him...gone, all very gone. All of that work and planning and hope...all just so far away gone.
Was it all for nothing? Is it now meaningless? What was the point?
And there I sat, with my job... in a hospital... in Florida... in a place that my old self would have never imagined, especially not without him by my side. For a moment, I felt outside of my own body and I just felt so sad.
How long had it been?
Ten years ago this holiday season, I was out on the road traveling with him squeezing in interviews and second look visits while popping in to see our family for the holidays.
My life feels like it could be nothing further than what my old self would have or could have imagined. And now where am I? How was it that I came to work at a hospital? Is it weird or strange that my life has taken this path?
What will happen in the next ten years? How much will change? How much will I change? Will I be happy? Or will I be lost and waiting?
The emotional swells have been reverberating within me, as I try to find a place of balance, strength and acceptance of my current reality. I know I am in a place of transition once again. I just need to be patient. It is okay to grieve what was lost, honor it and put it down again.