FINALLY, I got this written on a computer! Sorry for the wait, but real life got crazy and I couldn't post as quickly as I did before. This is the last chapter and is a little different because it doesn't focus on a couple, but the perspective of one person, as well as update on everyone else (kinda).
ONE YEAR LATER
It was one year ago today. One year ago today I denied who I was. When I stared down the barrel of a gun, I denied my profession. I denied the job that destroyed my marriage. I denied my passion. I denied myself and everything that I am.
Because I am a surgeon.
I can't figure out what part of me said that I was a nurse. Was it the person, the human being, who wasn't ready to face the hereafter? Do I have unfinished business or regrets about this life that made me want to stay here a little longer? There have been a lot of ups and downs in the past few years, professionally and personally, but I try to live my life without regrets. Keep my eye on the big picture. Strive to do my best for those who come under my care and strive to be the best single working mother I can be. I was finally putting my love life back together. I was living my life and was for the first time in a long time, not dragged down by sadness and misunderstanding.
Was it the surgeon? Surgeons are known to be cocky and arrogant. We are the slice and dice, get in-get out experts of medicine. That may be who we are to people like Gary Clarke, but I can say, that if I have learned anything in my time here at Seattle Grace, it is that the wonderful doctors I work with are not what the stereotype is. Sure we have our moments of feeling like we are God, but we aren't. I have seen my colleagues put aside personal heartbreak to focus on saving the life of a stranger. I have seen human beings with all of their faults try to put one foot in front of the other and endure tragedies and crises that few ever see in their lifetime. Out of my interns, everyone of them has been under the knife, everyone of them has seen romantic heartbreak, I have seen four get married and one almost get married, and then three get divorced. I have watched them lose loved ones. I have watched while George (and Meredith and Alex and Izzie to a point) died.
These doctors are like my children. I raised them from med school graduates to residents who are flying solo on amazing surgeries and running clinical trials. And they were there when I became a mother. I think that they were my practice. I am so glad Tuck has gotten to know some of these brave people. I'm not even sure I would be able to get out of bed in the morning if I had to live through what they have. I think the answer to my musings must be that it was the mother in me that lied. I lied for my babies. Not that I am so arrogant to think that they couldn't live without me, but rather that I want to watch them continue to grow and take on the world.
I lied so that I can sing lullabies to Tuck, listen as Meredith rambles, push Cristina to say her please and thank-you's, and watch Alex overcome his mysterious and troubling past.
I lied so that I can watch as Alex moves on with his life and is proving to be one of the best neo-natal/pediatric residents I have seen in a long time. He is so passionate about his patients well being. He is determined that their life is going to be better than his. And that he will do everything in his power to protect them. And I am watching him make peace with his past and learn to love who he is before he jumps into another relationship.
I lied so that I can be there to remind Cristina to say please to her attendings, especially Altman. Although the girl flew solo and saved Shepherd, she still has a lot to learn. And Teddy is just the right person to teach her. But I am also there to remind her to be more than a surgeon. To look at the big picture. I remember a time when all I wanted to do was learn how to do more and more surgeries and watch all I could. But Cristina has the love of a good man who understands her, and I am pushing her to thank God that she has him and never take him for granted.
And I lied for Meredith. I have watched that girl go through hell and back (and back and back). From McDreamy McDrama, to bombs and drowning, to dead mommy, and the thing that I think hit the hardest, to watching bright and shiny Meredith lose her baby, that girl has been through it all. I have been in the scrub room with her a couple times, the scrub room, and listened to her ramble out her nervousness. Before I knew about the baby, I heard a lot of questions about when was the best time in a residency to have a baby and my thoughts on motherhood. Then one day, we had an 8-week pregnant patient on the table. We were successful in the surgery, but we were unsure as to whether the baby would make it since it was so early in the pregnancy. That was the day Meredith broke. She told me all about the miscarriage and that even though she and Derek decided to not prevent it anymore, she was terrified she would get pregnant and it would happen again. And I listened. It was all I could think to do. It has been a long year of growth for the Shepherds, but I think, even though Meredith might not realize it yet, the smell of surgery is making her a little greener and she is crankier than usual. We might get our happy ending baby soon.
And for my happy ending baby. Although my marriage had a sad ending, I cannot think of Tuck as anything but a blessing. He is starting preschool and I feel like his life is flashing in front of my eyes. There will be a day soon when he won't want a lullaby, but as long as he lets me, I will sit beside him and hold his hand as he slips off to dreamland.
I would probably say that I was a nurse if the same thing happened today. I am not ready to stop being here for my babies, or even for the others, Lexie and Mark, Callie and Arizona, or even the Chief as he reclaims himself.
As I step out of the elevator and into the hall where we held Charles, I take a moment to stop and thank him. The memory makes me sad. But it also makes me happy. The memory of Charles, who was brave enough to say he was a surgeon when held at gunpoint, has made me a better person. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and slowly move onto my next patient down the hall. I choose to be a surgeon AND a mother, and I will not regret that.
Hope that was worth the wait!