Goodbye Grandpa

My husband is flying to Michigan today to attend the funeral of his grandfather.  He died over the holidays, but specified that his funeral was not to interrupt Christmas.  It’s been a rough several years for my husband, as his dad died of cancer, and now his grandfather died of the same.  My husband was extremely close to both of them, and as he puts it, “it’s the end of an era.”

Grandpa’s death has hit me hard.  We had flown out and spent Easter with him, and he was as vibrant as ever.  We knew he didn’t have long, but we took him out for some meals, reminisced and played some wicked games of cards.  He was so sharp that he sent emails to us until the end. 

Grandpa died the way he lived.  He had a clear sense of how his last days should go.  He didn’t want to be in the hospital, didn’t want any intervention for the kidney cancer, and wanted to play golf until the last.  He died surrounded by his family at home  hospice.  Nothing was done with out his consent, and tomorrow his family will celebrate a life well lived.

Grandpa died like patients SHOULD die, in full control, comfortable, with his wishes fully known and followed.  I would advocate  that we physicians treat our patients like Grandpa’s physicians treated him; they listened thoroughly, were completely honest, and allowed him to set his course til the last.  It takes a special type of physician to let go when it’s time, and fortunately that’s what Grandpa had.   Goodbye Grandpa, and thank you to all of the physicians that saw him through.


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