Monday, October 24, 2011
Memories Of My Father
“OK Dr. Grumet, I'll let him know you’re holding”.
After a minute he picked up the phone:
It took me aback for a moment although it shouldn’t have. It’s already happened a few times since I moved to Highland Park.
“High Dr. H, this is Jordan Grumet. Jerry (Gerald) was my father”
"Of course, Of course, Jerry died years ago. I knew your father well. Hell of a physician. We worked together at Northwestern”
Although my father died in the early eighties, i’t sometimes seems that he is still alive and well, roaming the halls of the hospital. No matter where I practice, someone goes out of their way to tell me what a wonderful physician he was. One day it will be a colleague and the next a nurse. A few of my patients even knew him.
And yes, I still get called “Jerry” all the time. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I am extremely proud that twenty plus years after his death his memory is still strong. That he was a great physician and people carry his kindness and wisdom with them. On the other, I'm getting to the point in my career where I am no longer content to be known as the son of a great physician. Sometimes I want to be acknowledged for my own achievements and merit.
But the truth is, when I reread the last paragraph, I guess I'm lying to myself. Because what really burns is that all these people have a piece of my father that I will never own. They knew him as a physician.
And there have been times when I really needed to know that aspect of him. When I was struggling in residency after countless sleepless nights, I could have used his encouragement. When I did my best and watched my patients die anyway, I so yearned for his support. When I became disillusioned with medicine and felt like leaving, it would have been helpful to know that he went through the same thing. And when a colleague accidentally picks up the phone and calls me “Jerry” it would be nice to hear his laughter as he slaps me on the back and exclaims,
“if only I was half as good a physician as you are at your age!”
Because at the core, stripped of the years of education and medical degrees, I am still just a little boy trying his best to gain the respect and love of his father.
And sadly, I am all to aware, that thirty years after his death...
that is no longer possible.
Posted by Jordan Grumet at 6:12 AM