Doctor, I know you are a scientist and an expert and all that, and of course that’s why I come to you. You know more about the lungs that anybody on my side of the state and that’s why they want me here. And I feel a little embarrassed to even bring this up, but it is weighing on me and I’d like to have an answer, if it doesn’t take too much of your time.

I promise I am using the inhaler, and taking my prescriptions, and I am not disrespecting the advice you gave my local doctor! Not at all. But one of my girlfriends took me to a traditional healer that she has worked with, and don’t worry! I am not taking any herbs or anything that could impact the plan of care you have. I don’t want you to get mad at me! But I want to be honest, and I have a question.

I don’t know if you know, but my son was killed at the apple orchard where he works. And it hit me really hard, because he is my only son and my baby. And no one can tell us why. No one knows He was just found dead, and they called us and we drove there, and then we saw him in a coffin, and he really was dead. It really was him. But no one knows why.

So I lost 27 pounds and I cried my eyes out and I am still crying and as you can see my eyes are like two red, burning holes in my face. I can’t believe I still have eyesight. And I have hardly slept for weeks. My daughters all scold me and tell me to buck up and see the positive. But what’s the positive? I have this lung thing, maybe from being slowly poisoned at work. And my husband is on dialysis, and I can’t even take care of myself, let alone him. And he won’t share my grief – he has just shut down.

And either one of us would have been happy to die instead of our son, even if we were healthy – that is what any parent would do – but God didn’t let us. And I wish I could ask God why, so I could understand. I know that God doesn’t do anything without a reason, and I know it is not my place to judge or question Him, but I just wonder. Why? Why did God drag my life out through all these years of harsh work, poverty and struggle, burdens at home, with false hopes? Longing for peace, longing for rest? And having it denied to me? Only to have my son killed, and we don’t know why.

Why did God let me outlive my only son, and lay this heavy burden of pain upon my heart – to crush me to the ground when I had hoped for rest and relief from these burdens? My kids are grown – the grand kids are coming – this is supposed to be the happiest time in a woman’s life. And then He takes my son – the apple of my eye, the one who always loved me best. He used to call me every single evening, just to say hi. I would sit on our porch and hear his voice. If you heard his voice, doctor – so soothing. Now I don’t want to go on the porch. I just pace inside our tiny trailer, back and forth those few steps like a caged rat. May God relieve me from my painful thoughts. From my pain.

Sorry to cry, and sorry to get off topic, doctor. I know your time is precious, and others wait eagerly for your fifteen minutes. But the traditional healer says that my worsening lung condition might not be just from the agricultural work. That it might be from my grief. And just like I cry tears from my eyes, she says that my lungs can cry and then they get congested, and that could be how I got the scar tissue, just like other wounds in our flesh will cause a scar, right? You must know all about this, more than I ever could. So my question is, do you have any treatment for grief? Because if I am crying into my lungs and causing scar tissue, I want to get the right treatment for that.

I don’t want much, not anymore. To be honest, all I hope to do at this point, doctor, is get strong enough so I can bury my husband. So I can live long enough to see him through his last illness. Then I will be ready to join my son in heaven, God willing. If you can lighten my burden, doctor, I would be so grateful. And you would be doing a good deed. I really do feel like my lungs are crying and sobbing, and I can feel that when I breathe. Perhaps you can hear it with your stethoscope. My lungs are choking on sobs, inconsolable. There must be something you can do. Is there a treatment for that? If not, would you allow me to take herbs from the healer? I mean no disrespect. But the pain is overwhelming.