The flag had been folded, gently pressed into the hands of shattered loved ones. Brothers and sisters in arms drifted slowly away from the grave site, turning inward to grieve another loss endured in an impossibly tragic year. Another lonely battle lost. Another suicide.
“I’m sorry, my friend,” whispered once more, and too many times, into an empty afternoon. I turned away after a final goodbye, heading for home where profound grief would contrast dichotomously with the absurd normalcy of life in the hospital. My heart was broken and the weight of guilt was crushing. Compounding that heaviness of heart was the realization that the specter of depression and suicide haunted, with equal ferocity, those in my old life and new. As devastatingly certain as I am that we will continue to lose members of our military family to this disease, I am equally certain that members of our medical family will be taken as well.
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Gallagher KC, Taylor CE. Gatekeeper Training and the Medical Community’s Fight Against Depression and Suicide—A Shared Burden. JAMA Surg. 2021;156(3):215–216. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.3315
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