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A bond between two souls; in honor of the 10-year-anniversary of Jordan's passing.

Today is the 10th Yahrzeit (Hebrew anniversary) of Jordan's passing. It is a day of reflection and also a day to reinvigorate and recommit to the lessons Jordan taught us.

I want to share a story about two souls that came together .

This is a story about Jordan Rinde and Trina Seligman both of blessed memory.

Trina was someone I met early in my career . She was a brilliant mind, a successful doctor, and had a charming personality. When I first heard of her I was a first year medical student and she had been in practice for 7 or so years. I heard her speak and was instantly inspired. Her ability to measure and reason through the scientific literature and apply it toward helping people was especially refreshing given that I was in a field of integrative medicine that was often criticized for being pseudoscientific. In addition, she was a successful business person and had set up practice in Kirkland, Washington with another outstanding colleague Dr. Geoff Lecovin.

I called them up to see if I could shadow them and preceptor with them. They said that they don't do that sort of thing. I begged. And, they decided to let me come by weekly to learn the ropes.

We all bonded to say the least. Even though I was a student we were all the same age and had similar upbringings and a similar sense of humor. It was a blessing to me to find kindred spirits to consider as friends and role models.

So the relationship began.

One day when I was precepting with Trina and Geoff ; I noticed she was having out of control asthma attacks. Being a newbie; I said.... "have you ever tried quercetin?" She looked me dead in the eye and I knew right away that my soft ball suggestion was met with a big league problem. Eventually she explained to me that she had been struggling with Ulcerative Colitis since she was teenager and had surgery (this is public information at this time) ; and even with surgery the disease still flared and attacked other parts of her body including her lungs. This would make her susceptible to all sorts of infections and respiratory problems.

Yet, she was still plugging away helping others. Not only helping but in a compassionate manner.

My respect for her skyrocketed even further.

Fast forward, 4 years later, and Trina and Geoff invited me to start my practice in their clinic. I would pay rent and overhead but they would provide a nest for me to learn, grow, and build. So, that is what I did. I spent about a year with them and then moved my clinic to join up with another mentor of mine and also because I was having troubles handling the overhead.

During that year, Jordan was born and also Trina and her husband Craig welcomed their little ones (Robin and Skyler) into the world. In addition, Geoff and his wife Steph welcomed their son Zayden into the world. It was a fun time for all of us to share together.

I brought Jordan to meet Trina. She looked him over intently. I remember her checking his Babinski reflex. I thought, 'wow, she is some doctor'. I was just bringing him to snuggle and she is not only snuggling but also checking his neurologic function!

I saw a bond between them. I thought maybe it was because she was helped my wife with fertility related questions. Or maybe she just loved children and cared deeply. In retrospect, I think it was a combination of both.

The years, went forward and we would attend birthday parties and keep in touch. I considered them close friends.

Then , came the Summer of 2011 and Jordan was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. Beyond family, there were a few people I called first. One was Rabbi Mordechai Farkash and the other was Dr. Trina Seligman.

When you're in distress; having people who can "stay above the water" is essential and both of these people could and did. Trina from a perspective of what would need to be done medicinally. And Rabbi Farkash from a standpoint of what needed to be done spiritually.

The complexity of Jordan's illness (stage 4 cancer,-remission then relapse, aortic rupture, kidney failure-dialysis, 15 or so procedures and surgeries) required many complicated discussions between me ,Amy and the medical team. As you can imagine, that it is very difficult to make hard decisions with such emotion and connection to your loving child. So, I decided to call on a team of trusted colleagues to attend meetings with me and help with certain aspects of decision making. This included my colleagues Rob, Paul, Emily, Leanna, and of course Trina. Of those folks, I leaned into Trina the most. She would visit Jordan and be able to connect with him like no other. Their bond took off to a whole new level. She could relate to him as a sick child much like she had dealt with growing up. She also related to Amy and I as medical parents since her own parents went through a similar journey. Her calm and confident advice that never sugar coated anything was a source of great strength.

Even after Jordan passed; she continued to honor his life and talk with me about how much he meant to her. I would discuss with her my spiritual understanding of his life and she would express curiosity but would share that her understanding of this side of things was not something she fully had embraced. Yet, her explanation was never defensive or dismissive; she literally said she didn't grasp it. This is called intellectually humility and one of the most admirable traits Trina had.

This year , Trina finally became eligible and found a match for a lung transplant. And the doctors, family, and friends were so hopeful. This was a chance to move away from chronic illness to some degree and for her to regain function and health. The days after the transplant and in recovery things were going fairly well. She was intubated and could not talk yet as her lungs recovered but she developed a way of communicating with her husband Craig through a Morse code like hand squeezed that spelled out words.

I received a call from Craig that Trina was asking me to visit. I made arrangements to head over to University of Washington Medical Center and and met with Trina. Seeing her in recovery from surgery was all to familiar to me after being through countless surgeries with Jordan. I try and bring light and kindness to those situations and to endless picture the patient rising from the bed and waking out fully intact. As I met with Trina, she had tears in her eyes . Craig said she wanted to tell me something. So she began squeezing his hand and he wrote out the sentence. She said : "Last night , Jordan, visited me. And, I love Jordan".

This heartwarming moment felt so complete to me and pure. I was speechless and started to swell up in tears of joy and just said thank you and I am so happy that you both connected.

In the days and weeks thereafter, the transplant took a turn for the worse sadly. After many complications and valiant effort by Trina and her family; she passed away on November 1, 2023 leaving behind Craig, her children, pets, and her entire family. Her patients and extended community were deeply effected by her loss.

I feel I lost a hero and also at the same time; I feel comforted by her connection with Jordan's soul. I know her strong husband and children will undoubtedly carry on strongly in her honor. She wouldn't want it any other way.

So in honor of 10 years of Jordan's passing; we are left with two lives that continue to enrich those of us left behind.Rest in peace Jordan and Trina.

P.S. If you would like see what efforts are being made in honor of Trina's family; please click here.


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