What happens when a gardener, doctor and journalist get together to discuss the intricacies of life? What if all three are the same person? This
episode is truly poetic in every sense. Polymath Dr. Merilee D. Karr finds depth and examines the meaning of life with her patients, her plants and her pen.
Merilee deeply understands the power of healing, helping hands, as well as the guilt and regrets that can linger long after a loved
one’s death. She’s reached a place of peace and absolution now and has this self-advice for when she was dealing with her father’s passing: "Don’t worry so much
about Daddy. Worry about yourself, and take time to be with him.”
"The main thing keeping me away from him then was partly my job, which I had cut down to part-time doctoring, but also graduate school in writing. In my family, education is a huge priority. I’m not sure Daddy would have wanted to know that I was skipping a class to be with him. But, yeah, fifteen years ago, what I would have done differently was just spend more time in his hospital room or Hospice room, talking to him, just spending unmeasured time with him.
I would’ve told myself, don’t worry about how this ends. Because I was constantly stressed about what’s the next curve the rollercoaster’s gonna take. And I was worried about the instability of his life and my life, trying to chase him up and down the rollercoaster and protect him. I wish I could've just let it happen and balance in flight."
Once upon a time, Merilee D. Karr was an English major, specializing in Medieval Studies. Her BA in English led, somehow, to a career programming large computers in Boston, then to medical school in Seattle. She loved practicing Family Medicine, but couldn’t live with the way managed care made her do it. So she went back to school at Portland State University for an MFA in Nonfiction Writing and a new career in journalism—leaving one troubled profession for another.
She’s working on a book about the Puritan roots of American medical culture called The Doctor’s Ghost: Or, Make an Error, Go to Hell. Her best critics are her husband Dave Goldman, the cats Dash and Apostrophe, and a grove of temperamental, chronically ill backyard fruit trees. Connect with her on her website.
Sheree Wichard remembers getting a new Barbie book as a little girl and, while walking down the street with her mom, running up to someone ahead of them to ask if he'd like to hear her new book.…Her enthusiasm for bringing the words on a page to life was evident way back when.
Sheree is an actor and a voice over artist. She has appeared off-Broadway, on television and in film. In addition to Restoration Row, Sheree’s most recent VO projects include a national radio commercial for Tide detergent and three college savings-related television commercials. Sheree enjoys taking long city walks with her husband, son and dog, discovering great restaurants with gluten-free, dairy-free options, and escaping to the Berkshires to recharge. Connect with Sheree on her website.
Merilee D. Karr's Essay "Plant Life" was originally published by the Bellevue Literary Review
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