If you do not know by now, I am a country bumpkin. I was born in the country and that is where I belong. I love being in the country – and I am definitely not a city dweller. Traffic, people, noise, bustling about – not for me. I would rather be on a tractor than an expressway. My visits to the city are rare and only when I simply MUST.
Because I love my job and, well, frankly, I like paying the mortgage – I obeyed a supervisor command to “Go to the city”. So here I am, back in Richmond, VA today. I parked in a central parking deck and decided to walk to my meeting. I walked by VCU/MCV Medical Center and it hit me like a lightning bolt.
So many ghosts here – both young and old.
When my son was just a little boy, he was so very ill. He was here at this very medical center so many times. While strolling with the ghosts, I stopped on a street corner where my son and I shared a hot dog and a soda, awaiting test results. I can picture his little face, looking up at me – questions I just couldn’t answer.
I strolled along a little farther to the entrance of the Medical Center and I stopped to recall several visits. Sometimes we came out crying. Sometimes we came out smiling.
I saw young college students wearing their VCU gear, and I flashed forward to my son in college at VCU. He walked down these streets, through these doors as a very sick little boy – and then again as an adult – a young college student full of promise and dreams.
VCU launched his career – he became a great doctor. Many people are alive today because he was there to help them. He bravely participated in helicopter rescue and on scene emergencies. Yes, that gives me comfort – but, I am ashamed to admit – sometimes it makes me angry. Why couldn’t some one help him? I stop myself. I try to disrupt those negative thoughts as quickly as I can. I cannot go there – not now. Not while I stroll among the ghosts.
I think I will walk past his first dorm building, and maybe take the longer stroll to his first apartment building. Torture? Yes. Healing journey? I pray so.