Sunday, April 6, 2014

Northwest Kidney Centers' Ceremony of Remembrance Helps

It's an annual event: the Northwest Kidney Centers' Ceremony of Remembrance. This is the third one I've attended - and it's clear I'm not ready to stop attending.

It's a simple, meaningful, event. Joyce Jackson, NKC CEO, leads off with a respectful introduction. There's a responsive reading led by the NKC Chaplain and a number of people who occupy various positions in Kidney World.

Then, there was a thoughtful address done by Dr. Andrew Brockenbrough, the Medical Director of the NKC in Kent. Kind, sensitive in his remarks, it was clear that he appreciates the profound impact kidney disease has on patients and families. And he passed on to us the impact that we as family have. As he said, "we're often the reasons why our loved ones went on dialysis in the first place."

After this, there's a ritual. We have the opportunity to come forth, pick up a shiny glass stone, place it into a container of water and say, as I did, "for my husband, Steve Williams." We take another stone as a memento. I now have three.

But there were sons and daughters, other wives, husbands, mothers and fathers, and even tearful staff and volunteers of the Northwest Kidney Centers.

This means something unique to each of us: everyone in that room has a deep and different understanding of the impact of kidney disease. And we didn't have to say a word.

There were happy contacts, too. I reconnected with Gloria Lomax, my dialysis "penpal," whose husband Ted died less than two months before Steve. There were the wonderful nurses and social workers who got us through the really tough times.

Maybe there'll be a day when I won't attend the Ceremony of Remembrance. But it isn't time yet.

Take care,
Linda Gromko, MD