The question I’m sitting with is what I’ve lost and what I’ve won.
Let me just start with what I’ve lost, because it’s big…
My father passed away on Thursday, February 11th at 9:30am.
It’s still fresh and raw. Yet I know you’ve been following along — reading emails I sent from the hospital and traveling with me through his surgeries, radiation and managing a circus of -ologists.
I wanted you to know.
And yet I find myself doing what we all do when we lose something or, more importantly, someone. Reviewing every detail. Combing through each interaction. Reassessing all decisions made at each juncture, and passing judgement on my very own actions.
Was there more that could have been done?
Was I aggressive enough in my proposed interventions?
Did I rightfully consider all his wishes?

And the answers are yes and no and it doesn’t really matter because here we are.
In witnessing the preciousness of life, of saying goodbye and I love you and I wish it was different, I’m reminded of the work I do every day – work with people who aren’t necessarily facing death due to their condition or diagnosis, and yet are filled with grief for the life that they once had, all the same.
There’s a tenderness in the synapse — the space between the place that was departed and the ultimate destination. In that synaptic cleft we encounter the unknown. And that cavity may exist for a lifetime, a moment, or several months, as it did for my dad.
No matter the duration, to step into that fissure between past and future, with ourselves or loved ones, is a win. It’s a blessing, a gift and an act of love and service.
And so, as I sit with my loss, I’m counting my wins. Yes, they’re about collaborations with doctors and giving my dad a sense of pride that I could adeptly handle his care, but more importantly they’re in the sweet moments of holding his hand, talking to him in the middle of the night, receiving the recounting of his dreams in the last weeks of his life, and preparing my parents house for him last Saturday, even though I knew it would be his final ride home.
I hope you’ll join me in stepping into the synapse and bringing the love and care back into healthcare. Especially your own.
Life is precious and yours is golden.
Warmly,
Andrea Nakayama