Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where to call home

On my way to the river on Tuesday this song was playing and I sang it to myself as I went into and out of the wave, playing... I realize this song is about men and women, but for me it is about going home. When I left Montana I gave up the place I love and I had decided to call home. I left the first place I have ever truly been able to call home, where I came to fit in, despite being hyperactive and just wanting to play in the mountains, to come to dc.

The hardest decision was to not go back after my mom died. I had always dreamed of being a doctor and with my mom I found that I was truly talented. I had applied soon after coming home and gotten accepted first try. There are no medical schools in Montana, but there are in Virginia and I was just a couple of months from officialy becoming a Montana state resident. So I could still get Va in-state tuition. The timing was perfect. But I still had the option of returning to my program where I was happy.

When I made the decision to leave everyone told me "the mountains will always be here, but your mom won't be." But then after I had been here for a few months and went back to visit my coworkers started to encourage me to go back. "your face just lights up whenever you talk about it." Apparently the only time I really shone was when I talked about going home.

I took my first kayaking lesson the first weekend I was in DC. Kayaking was my consolation prize for giving up my home to care for my dying mother. One day while waiting outside Duke's cancer institute in a meditation garden before going in to meet with a doctor about her case I made a promise. That while she was alive I would do everything to save her. And when she died I would do everything in my power to help others in her honor. But did this really mean that I still couldn't go home? When will it be time to go back home?

Now this spring break vacation my dad had surgery. It is his seventh on his left eye to attempt to recover his vision as he has hereditary glaucoma. It seems that the pressure is up in his right eye and he may need to operate on that soon, his only seeing eye, or else both eyes may go.

I would have loved to go home to Montana and gone skiing and seen my friends and have been in the mountains. But I made my decision to be here and put my family first. Only two and a half more years and then I will hopefully be able to move closer to where I feel most at home. It is crazy how different my life is based on that one decision. All the people I have met and all the things I have done. I would never have won a running race or even known I could be pretty good at running. I wouldn't know how to roll a kayak, much less have worked on flipping it around. I would not be in medical school and never known that I have "world class empathy" and can be "a great doctor" as I was told recently following an exam in my practical application class. And most importantly, I wouldn't have gotten this time with my family. And so I listen to my songs as I play around in the waves for a few hours and reassure myself that the mountains and rivers will still be there when I get back.

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