“We are oceans, not boats.”
“Grief” was written after spending quality time in nature, in the company of chosen family. I was thinking about places on 2 different continents that were once home, and about how I now found home on a third continent. I was processing grief with my therapist: about losing a close family member, grief about the past, hiraeth, and grief about the future—having to move away from Michigan to start fellowship in Minnesota, now that Michigan had become home. Around that time, I had also been working with a few patients who were processing their own grief and it made me think of how alive grief can be for something that is related to a death or loss—and how it is one of many ways for life, memory, or essence to continue.
Comes in, goes out,
Writing letters in sand,
Leaving a stain on all it touches.
Engulfing safe harbor,
Tearing cities apart-
Shattering shelter, destroying dreams.
Blanketing sound, endless, vast,
Silence before and after and always.
Older than you, than me, than time.
The ruthless, rushing, reminder
Of warmth that once was,
And of inevitable autumn.
When evening skies change hue-
Airplanes ice-skating across,
Without a home to return to,
Snails without shell.
And so much salt.
Not unlike the waves,
We are oceans, not boats.
Dr Fonseca is a fellow in consultation-liaison psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Their current fellowship includes a special focus on transgender medicine and reproductive psychiatry. Within APA, they are the current APA Diversity Leadership and SAMHSA Fellowship chair, attending Board of Trustee meetings, and serving on the Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning liaising to the Council on Advocacy and Government Relations. They are also a current ACLP Webb Fellow, serving on the Medical Student Education Subcommittee.