Wednesday, April 10, 2013

He walked away

When Micah crashed and landed in the PICU January 2012, II withdrew his acceptance to medical school. What only he and I knew at the time was that he wrote a heartfelt appeal to the medical school to consider an exception to their no deferrals policy. That appeal was rewarded by giving him a one year deferral. II once again had to decide whether he would go to medical school Fall 2013. Since Micah passed, we have gone back and forth a million times with no clear decision for us to follow. I told II that ultimately I would support whatever decision he made. However, my path remains very clear, regardless of what choice he makes. I set out just over three years ago to reclaim me, and I've done exactly what I promised I would do. Therefore, whether II went to medical school or not, I will continue on my path of working part-time until the children are ready for me to return to full-time, while slowly and determinedly moving forward. Eventually, I will hold a DNP. After much agony and deliberation, my decision is that I will persue my DNP in Pediatrics with a certification in hospice/palliative care. II had to choose what path he was going to take. Mine was not going to alter based upon his, only whether I work part-time or full-time to support his efforts.

Given this scenario, I thought we had made a decision on where to go. We had the substantial deposit for his place until I wrecked my van and totaled it. We have been waiting for our state tax return for two months and it is possible it would come before the deadline. I thought the decision we made was if the money came, he would pay the deposit and we would go. If the money did not come, we would not stretch our budget and he would walk away.

This morning, II make a decision on his own and told me about it after the fact. While I have cried and I am stunned, the reality is that this was always his to make and does not actually set the course for my life at all. He did honor me with sending me a copy of the letter he sent. I'm posting it here because in the three and a half years I have journeyed to find me, it is clear that II has also worked hard and found himself as well.

Dear Admissions Committee,

Just over a year ago I approached you both with the reality that we were told my son was dying and asked for an exception to allow me to delay my entrance to XXXXX until after he was gone. The decision to grant the deferral was an amazing gift and one that will never be forgotten. Last July, 9 months ago this coming Friday, 10 year old Micah took his last breath in my living room surrounded by my wife, myself and his siblings; something that was only made possible by delaying my preparations for medical school.

Over the last 9 months, I've gone from "I'm going if it kills me and everyone else" to "it just isn't meant to be" and everywhere in between. The loss of a child changes people, ultimately for the better, but at the same time you never look at the world the same way again. In the last couple of months my wife & I finally settled on the decision that yes, this is what I was supposed to do and yes we were going even if it was crazy. However, in the end it became a matter of making a decision that the loss of Micah made clear: that no matter what happens in life, you never take a single moment for granted in the lives of those you love. In my case, that means that I will forever honor his legacy not by becoming a physician but by telling his story and using it to try and touch the lives of others.

Micah was born to a poor hispanic mother in LA, unable to care for his needs with CF, she ultimately lost him to foster care. For 3 years he floundered receiving sub-par medical and personal care waiting for a home they 'knew' would never come. In 2008 my family adopted Micah, taking on the impossible of raising an autistic, terminal child. It was both trying and yet amazing, but after only 4 short years Micah's time with us was over way before anyone was ready. Micah taught us all how to live, how to love, and how to dream; and in the end that no matter how 'broken' or 'damaged' every child deserves love and the absolute best care they can have. This is his legacy.

It is with a heavy but accepting heart that I am formally and for the second time declining my acceptance to XXXXX. I want to thank you both, as well as the committee, for all you have done and for the time I was given. In the end, the closest I will be to a physician occured in the moments after my son's passing when it was I that confirmed he was gone, and noted the time to later be used by Hospice. Not the way I expected for this journey to end, but maybe just maybe the way it needed to.

Thank you,


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