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The Power of Unexpected Moments of Human Connection

Creator:
Published:
June 20, 2024
June 17, 2024
Learn how unexpected moments can lead to deep connection.

As I sat in the passenger seat on the way to the unexpected doctor’s office visit, I decided to check my email to pass the time. 

I saw “New Test Result Available” in an unread email. Opening it and logging into my online chart, I was faced with what I already knew to be true: 

“HCG levels indicate: not pregnant.” 

Though I’d maintained some hope, I had known this would be the case since that morning. It wasn’t the result I was expecting, days after we’d shared the news with our loved ones and just about a week after my first positive pregnancy test. In less than 24 hours, the joy we’d felt and the plans we’d made shattered. 

Honestly, the last place I wanted to be after getting that result was in an OB office. I didn’t want to talk about it and didn’t feel like crying in front of a bunch of medical professionals. I would much rather have been curled up on my couch, mourning in the privacy of my home. But we had an appointment, and we were already on our way, so we continued. 

Then, something unexpected happened. When my doctor came into the office, she didn’t get to work with logistics or planning or examinations. She sat down next to us, confirmed the miscarriage, and asked how I was doing.

“This is devastating,” she said. “And I want you to know that I am devastated with you.” I might not have believed her — surely all doctors say that to be nice — had it not been for the tears streaming down her own face.

“In the midst of heartbreak, that moment grounded me, validated my pain, and showed me viscerally that I’m not alone in it.”

I’d never seen a doctor cry before, and I was struck by the fact that this woman, who I’ve met a handful of times and who has probably seen countless pregnancy losses and other tragedies in her career, could feel that level of empathy. 

In the midst of heartbreak, that moment grounded me, validated my pain, and showed me viscerally that I’m not alone in it. My doctor’s depth of compassion showed me that I can be loved deeply by the most unexpected people, that deep connections are waiting for us in the unlikeliest of places.

Those moments of unexpected human connection happen more frequently than we think. Sometimes they’re incredibly light and fleeting: when you begin a conversation with the person sitting next to you at a sporting event, or when a stranger you pass on the sidewalk meets your eyes and smiles. I think of people coming together at concerts, united for one night by a love for music. Or on the flipside, when great tragedy strikes a community, and everyone leans on each other to mourn, to remember. I see it often with my husband. He’s a psychologist, and through some combination of his years of training and his natural personality, he invites people in. People know they can open up to him, and each time he stops to listen to an older person talk about their joys or troubles, I see that spark of compassionate connection occur. “People are lonely,” he tells me. “All they need is someone to talk to for a moment.”

Whoever we are and whatever state we’re in, these moments of connection remind us of our shared humanity and how deeply we need one another. 

When I think about that moment with my doctor, I’m both grateful for her genuineness and the sharing of our pain, and excited to know that when the day comes for a visit to her office for a healthy pregnancy, she’ll share in our joy just as deeply.

I’d like to spend more of my time following my doctor’s example — opening myself to the invitation to compassion and connection that the people around me provide simply by existing and sharing space. When we recognize the ways in which our burdens, our pains, our suffering, and our joy are connected, we embrace our ability to be fully loved, to be wholeheartedly supported, and to be wholly human. And that’s the kind of world and example I hope to show my own child someday.

Creators:
Molly Cruitt
Published:
June 20, 2024
June 17, 2024
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