Saving Lives, Losing Lives

On Saturday 24/7/2016, a miracle happened to me. After coming home from my friend's birthday party and a family member's celebration dinner, I met Yokai, a baby sparrow that just fell on our doorstep. He was sickly and full of mites, but I cared for him as best I could, singing to him and caressing and holding him gently as he clung to me for comfort. With great sadness, Yokai passed away the following day. Afterward, I felt Yokai had a significant impact on me, one still lingering today. I realized no matter how much I tried to save Yokai, it was unfortunately not enough. I sometimes blame myself for not taking him to the vet sooner that day. I can still hear his beautiful chirp sometimes. Yokai's passing made me realize that, as a current Crisis Counselor with Crisis Text line, soon to be EMT-B and ultimately a Forensic Psychiatrist, DO, there will come a day that it happens, that no matter how best I try, I may lose a life I am trying to save.

Loss is universal, we all share that part of our humanity, yet nothing can really help it hurt any less. With great care comes great responsibility, especially if you are a doctor or health care provider. In lieu of the long awaited years ahead to attain my DO degree, I know that soon that day will come. In life and in medical school, no one can really prepare you for losing a life. As physicians, we honor that our responsibility is to our patient, helping to heal each one to the best of our abilities as we strive to uphold the Hippocratic Oath. However, after losing Yokai, I truly understood why physicians must have malpractice insurance.

Previously, everyone was trying to console me, telling me how sorry they were for my loss. I appreciated everyone's condolences, but it only confused me more. A close friend of mine spoke with me a few days later while I was still processing all my grief. He said to me, "Luna, at least you tried." As soon as he said those words to me, everything just hit me. As a student of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I am aware of the horrific acts some humans are capable of that Yokai could have been a victim to. I didn't understand that even a small fragment of my efforts to frantically save Yokai's life made all the difference, because at least I tried.

As I widened my perspective of the situation, I remembered something my best friend once told me: "it could be worse." For what it was worth, Yokai could have suffered a fate much worse than the one we shared together as I tried with all my might to restore his vitality. For anyone who is suffering or grieving, it may be hard to see the light in your situation, but everything happens for a good reason. It may help to accept the current circumstances from an attitude of gratitude. For example, we are all blessed to be alive another day, to have kindness in our hearts, the ability to see the truth, the love of our friends and families, to remember wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong, and to have a soul we can call our own.

Yokai will be forever loved as his soul rests in peace. I know that Yokai is in a better place, probably catching more rewards on his flights in bird heaven than I ever will in my lifetime. In light of this tragedy, I am forever grateful to you Yokai. You taught me to never give up trying my best no matter what happens. You allowed me to embrace my failures as an opportunity to grow better than I was the moment before. You reminded me that because life is temporary, we should treasure every second we have. You helped me see the fullness of my purpose, to be a bright beacon of hope to remind everyone that we are all equal, that every single life is to be valued with the greatest respect in truth of all life's sanctity. All lives matter. In some ways, we saved each other. In your honor Yokai, I will continue to pursue my mission to save as many lives as best I can no matter what. The only thing worse than losing a life is not saving one!

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