Last week, I had the privilege of supporting Dr. Addie Reinhard as she lectured about veterinary suicide. By "supported" I mean I hung out in a virtual lobby in case any one needed a break to debrief about the heavy content.
At the beginning of the lecture, she asked that we pause and take a moment of silence to remember the veterinarians we have lost to suicide.
I don't know why this surprised me, but it did. It hit me deeply.
I'm pretty accustomed to talking about veterinary suicide. I'm pretty comfortable talking about death, whether about pets or people.
As a cancer mom I've learned to be willing to move boldly into the discomfort around talking about the death of a child.
And yet, this moment of silence hit me in the feels.
Cold chills. Lump in my throat. Burning behind my eyes
Maybe every veterinary CE, not just the ones on suicide, should start with a moment of silence for the veterinarians who we have lost.
Until we learn to see the faces, hear the stats, and deeply understand that we didn't lose those individuals because of their moral failing or personal weakness... Until we know that every lost life is an example of how far we have to go in veterinary culture change... Until we embrace the change that is needed, and are willing to do the hard work to get there...
Will you pause with me, close your eyes, remember those we've lost, and send love and energy to those who are struggling even as we speak?