We had a death in clinic this week. Not a patient. Our nursing assistant, GG (I’m not sure if it’s worth keeping up this anonymous nonsense, but I guess I started it; I might as well stick with it.) died suddenly and totally unexpectedly. Apparently she felt bad on Tuesday night and went to lie down for a while. She was found in her bed about an hour later. The cause of death is completely unknown at this point.

I knew GG for 2 years, and saw her pretty much every week, though not every day. She was gruff. She gave me shit, I gave it back. But we had a good time doing it. She had a wry sense of humor. She did her work, did it fairly well, and made our clinic run pretty smoothly.

She wasn’t perfect of course. She weighed too much, she smoked too much, she took short cuts occasionally (we all got frustrated with her when she didn’t go over patient medications properly). But she was essentially a good sort. She’d go to bat for a patient if needed, and spend the extra time it took to get something done sooner rather than later.

I admit I don’t know all that much about her personal life. She was divorced, and had two kids. I believe the first was her first husband’s, the second a later boyfriend’s. She had just broken up with the latter and was single again for the first time in quite a while.

Anyway, I just got back from going out with a group of fellows and clinic staff. We talked about her a bit but not exclusively. No tears tonight – apparently we’re saving them for later.

My first clinic since her death is tomorrow. It’s going to seem very empty. The wake is tomorrow night, the funeral on Saturday. I’m on call but should be able to make it.

She leaves behind two daughters. She was 35.

We’ll miss you GG.

Gentle reader, take my advice: take the time to get to know those around you. It’s easy to forget, but life is incredibly fragile and there is very little that separates our existence from our nonexistence. The people you take for granted now may suddenly be irretrievably gone tomorrow, and there will be no reclaiming them. We shall all die sooner or later as will everyone we know. So take the time to know a little bit about everyone, and remember them when they’re gone, as you would like to be remembered in turn.

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