seein’ Sparks: Light the Night.

Drawings, Writing


a #suedle for the walk.

a #suedle for the walk.

a few posts ago, i wrote about a student of mine who passed away recently.

i’d like to share a letter that i wrote for his memorial service this past week.


Dear Branson,

I remember sitting in the Servery of your second home the day you left us. It was pretty late and I was staring at the leftover food from the transition session. Through sadness, I remember smiling as I put the leftovers in the Student Refrigerator; there was actually a decent vegetarian salad that you would have claimed had you been there.

As I sat back down, the day’s emotion caught up with me; I opened my notebook looking for an outlet. I thought about you, your family, friends, peers and staff members.

I sat there for a little while longer. I guess I didn’t realize it at the time but I was listening. Listening to how quiet the building sounded without your laughter or comedic voices. Wondering how many chocolate pieces would go uneaten in our offices and how many IT issues would go unsolved. Figuring out how I would get all my work done without your daily emails about the latest stamp released or latest artist you had heard of. Worrying about all the members of our community. I know many other people in this room are wondering similar things.

My mind turned to the good. I remember the moment I ‘met’ you. It’s a moment someone has actually spoken about – your application picture. I remember specifically commenting to my supervisor, “oh I think I’ll get along with this one just fine.” I remember your first OBGYN Initial Clinical Experience and how you had me doubled over with laughter describing your day. I remembering helping you pick out a piece of art for your room. And I remember you telling the story of how you found our school and couldn’t wait to start your life as a physician.

The funny thing about all of this is Branson, you were already a doctor in your own way. Besides your unshakeable faith in what this school stands for, you have taught us so much about resilience and courage in the face of an absolute mess. Your daily rounds took the form of conversations and laughter with the people in the School of Medicine. In a lot of ways, we were your patients and your goal was to make our lives a little brighter.

Upon further reflection, one of my fondest memories was a conversation we had about a post on your blog “a little bit of the best of everything.” It was dated October 5, 2011 – right around this time two years ago. It goes a little something like this:

“There are many times that life intervenes in things that we like to do. Despite what everyone has said, medical school is tough. Please note the thinly-veiled sarcasm in that last sentence.

I will post some pieces when I can, hopefully very soon. I’ve got some interesting projects in the mill, but none of them are quite ready for primetime.

Know that even though no activity is immediately discernible here, the wheels ares still cranking behind the scenes. I promise!”

Knowing that you are still behind the scenes definitely gives me some comfort. I feel blessed to have known you and learned from you as an administrator and friend. Thank you.

Big hugs,

it’s amazing how one little ‘Spark’ can have such an affect on our world(s).

in honor of an amazing medical student, i am walking with our school to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. your contribution, no matter the amount, can make a difference. please join me in remembering Branson & looking forward to a bright future. many thanks.


4 thoughts on “seein’ Sparks: Light the Night.

  1. Beautifully said,Sue. Funny thing is I JUST re read and commented on your blog about Win, lose or – dash , before I read this and , now, through tear filled eyes, not only do I know and you know, but Branson knows, that the BAD WHY that happened just became an amazing tribute to an awesome young man who touched so many in so little time! Keep his spirit alive! He deserves it!

  2. For all that we’ve learned about you through what you draw and paint, it turns out you paint just as vibrant and emotional of a picture with words. I love that you shared this, and that you chose to memorialize him by creating beautiful things. *hugs*

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