Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: grief

  • The grieving one: on the death of a spouse

    Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   “A real experience of death isolates one absolutely. The bereaved cannot communicate with the unbereaved.” – Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man, 1971   ‘Alone’ holds the word ‘one.’ Photo by Javier Ocampo Zuluaga on Pixabay. After the death of a spouse, we are al(one). ____ One pillow…

  • Emptiness

    Sarah Alam  New Delhi, India   Illustration by Sarah Alam Today I feel just emptiness I am numb more or less, I can’t believe you are gone forever, Will this agony end ever? Your face shines before my eyes, I couldn’t even say goodbye, I never knew those words would be last, Each memory I…

  • Unfettered grief

    Lealani AcostaNashville, Tennessee, United States My first glimpse of unfettered grief was through shaggy six-year-old bangs, watching my mother weep, hunched over the toilet and framed by moonlight that cast the pale blue tiles of their master bathroom into darkness. I glimpsed that grief again as a second-year neurology resident, with my long, black hair…

  • Parental grief

    Ellen Zhang Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels We didn’t know the ending because this was us back then. Sometimes wanting is not enough. When the oncologist spoke. While you started to cry only because your mother did. As we cradled you gently. Beyond the singularity of such moments. There…

  • A brief life

    Andrea Eisenberg Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States I felt his legs wiggling in the sac of warm fluid surrounding him. His body was so tiny, his kicks were like a feather passing across my fingers. But his warm, dark world was about to slip away. Did he already sense it? Or did he swim peacefully, oblivious…

  • Engage the emotions

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Captivated by the paintings of Caravaggio, I search for them wherever I travel. But no encounter has been as intense and personal as The Taking of Christ in the Beit wing of the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. The Taking of Christ depicts the moment of Jesus’s betrayal by…

  • Réquiem

    Prasad Iyer Singapore   Poet’s statement: This poem expresses the feelings of parents who have recently lost a child to cancer. The first stanza deals with sadness, the second with guilt, and the last one with acceptance.   Death with a Child, from the series The Five Deaths. Stefano della Bella. 1648. Fine Arts Museum…

  • The names of things

    Joseph Hodapp Cupertino, California, USA   The author’s grandparents. Photo by Laura Hodapp. It’s a gray-sky, late-October afternoon. I just got home from work when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. The caller ID provides a brief preface: Mom. “Hey Mom, what’s up?” “Hey Hun, I wanted to call you right away… my…

  • Edvard Munch: The child who never grew up

    Michael YafiHouston, Texas The paintings of Edvard Munch are often used as an example of the association between creativity and mental illness. Can we, however, analyze them from the perspective of the feelings of a child? Traumatized by the death of his mother when he was only five years old1 as portrayed in The Dead…

  • The book that galvanized a health care transformation

    Sherrie DulworthNew York, United States One of the major health care sea changes of the past half-century did not originate from the usual sources of scientific research, technological development, or even clinical trial-and-error. Instead, a book written for a general audience galvanized a health care transformation. While the cultural revolution of the 1960’s had ushered…