Brokenhearted Theology, California, Chaplaincy, Meaning, Ramblings

Forgotten Names

Krissy and I were walking to dinner the other night, just down Sunset, to a nearby Mexican place that took us past Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Last year at this time I was in the midst of a clinical pastoral education (CPE) internship at CHLA. Memories of patient visits, on-call emergencies in the middle of the night, trying to wrap my mind around and deal with the pain, sickness, and death of kids. A great experience, but one that was heart-breaking and incredibly challenging.

I realized, walking by, that I have not forgotten most of the faces but I have forgotten a lot of the names – of kids, of families, and of hospital staff. People I visited multiple times over the course of multiple visits. People I spoke with, kids I played with, and families I prayed with. Seeing people through some of the worst trials they will ever go through in life. And I cannot remember their names.

I am not beating myself up over it.  It is just something on my mind.

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3 thoughts on “Forgotten Names

  1. Megan D says:

    I don’t think I ever can forget any of the end of life ministry I did at CHLA, I can see every face in the room. . .but I too can’t remember the names. I think its different parts of the brain, the face memory and the name memory parts.
    PS give me a call when you get a chance, I have happy ecclesiastic news!

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  2. Mari, thanks for commenting. It was helpful at the hospital to realize that it was not just me – as a chaplain – dealing with the loss, pain, hurt, etc., but everyone on staff deals with the weight of these things. Made me think a lot about my mom who has been nursing for 30 years. Lots of memories of faces, I’m sure.

    Megan, thanks for sharing a similar struggle. It is good to hear that I am not alone in our shared experience at CHLA – and awesome insight about fame memory and name memory – probably true! Will call when I get a chance!

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