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A Letter to my Dad's Doctor

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This letter may come as a surprise to you as we have never interacted again after the death of my father. How are you doing? I hope your medical journey is still going smooth as ever. Though these times might be hard, I hope you are coping well and still finding reasons to smile.

It has been approximately six years since we have last crossed paths. I was but a tiny 7th grader back then when I stumbled into your office, and now I am a college student. Can you believe that? Time indeed does fly. Anyway, you might be curious about the purpose of this sudden letter, so I will not beat around the bush any longer.

Albeit it’s a bit long overdue, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you. And you might think that I shouldn’t be saying this because it is merely your job; however, I am still grateful. You have taken my father under your wing despite him being your most stubborn patient yet. You’ve comforted my family when we processed his death; you even allowed us to pay quite a bit late for your services because you knew we were grieving.

To be honest, during the time of my father’s death, aside from the overwhelming feeling of grief, I harbored an intense feeling of anger and hatred. I despised families with a father and mother. I despised the nurses who tended my father. I despised my mom for giving up on my dad. I despised myself for not being able to do anything, and above all, I despised you. I remember blaming you for his untimely death because I heard you’ve increased his chemotherapy dose, making it stronger. Because of it, his body became frailer by the second, and before I could even process it, he couldn’t perform his tasks any longer. And only after two chemotherapy sessions he lost the battle.

I couldn’t fathom scientific facts back then or rationalize the situation because I was overcome with a feeling that I was vastly unfamiliar with. For I always thought my father would be with me till the very end, being my first dance on my debut, sending me off to college, receiving my first paycheck alongside my mom, and even handing me off to somebody when I get married. I was deluded by fantasy, and when it was taken away from me, I was devastated. And you were the individual I blamed for ruining this childlike dream.

It’s all in the past, of course. During my teenage years, I managed to realize quite a lot of things. Though, I admit these epiphanies took quite a while to accept. I never realized that losing a loved one would send someone to spiral out of control, but look, I am a living example. It was only around the time I was sixteen years old that I realized I was wrong for even pointing an accusing finger at you.

Sometimes the halls of hospitals indeed hear more prayers than the walls of the church. I remember praying to someone, to somebody, to a God, to gods, every hour, every minute, to keep my father alive. Every time I heard his ragged breathing, a prayer would always leave my lips. And I did not even know if somebody was listening. I was so desperate.

During my moments of lamentations, it dawned on me that you did your best to save him. What doctor would want their patient to die? What kind of doctor would want a family to suffer? You risk your life every single day to keep a family complete, to ground a person on earth, barring them from leaving quite yet. However, people fail to realize (and me, of course) that things don’t always go as planned. Perhaps I was too blinded by my spoiled attitude that I thought everything would work out in the end.

I realized that praying for my dad to continue his life here on earth is akin to praying that he continues to suffer. It’s synonymous with me wanting him to continue carrying his heavy burdens and deal with the world’s injustice and hatred. I am barring him from the serenity brought by death because of my selfish desires. I shouldn’t be angry at you because if it weren’t for your intelligence and knowledge, my time with him would’ve been cut short, given how stubborn he is. Your intervention enabled me to do a few things that I never thought I’d do due to the fear of losing him.

In a way, you have shown me sympathy. For if my father was fated to die, it could’ve happened abruptly. However, he gave us time to prepare through you.

This took me so long to realize. You didn’t deserve the hatred that I held. Though I have never shown this hatred towards you, I still feel awful that I despised you for no reason.

I’m sorry if this letter is sudden. You might have forgotten about me, my mom, and my dad now. But there was an overwhelming urge to write to you.

This might seem inconsequential, or I may or may not have trauma dumped at you, but I hope it’s not selfish of me to think that this sudden letter could also help you, be it just a short feeling of warmth, or maybe it could etch a smile on your face. Then I would’ve felt like I had repented for my unnecessary hate directed at you. If this simple letter could reduce your pain or ease your burdens even just a little, then the value of my existence is enough. Because just like me believing that there was a reason for my dad’s death, then perhaps there must be a reason as to why of all people, I decided to write to you today.

With Love,
Kate

© 2022 Kate Cabañero

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