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The angels in hospice care

November 8, 2014
The Dirty South 2010 078

Dad reflecting with a dental pick.

My dad spent his retirement years at “The Villages” in Florida. I’d always visit him when our annual KronosWorks customer conference was held in Orlando. The guy who took me to my first Red Sox game was on his couch next to me when the Sox won the World Series in 2004…

Dad wasn’t a fancy restaurant guy. Ruby Tuesday’s in the Villages downtown was just fine. No matter the restaurant, every time we left, he’d ask, “dental pick” with his arm outstretched holding the matchbook like picks. The old Boston accent never left, and he delivered the dental inquiry consistently.

My last few visits were sad ones. Dad really never recovered from the loss of his wife, Caroline in 1997. During my final visit, the Cornerstone Hospice was nice, and the staff extraordinary. It takes a special kind of human being to serve “customers” in a hospice. Some of our hospice and other long-term care customers will be with us this week. I hope to meet and thank some of them.

Dad was laboring, but not quitting. It seemed every breath was a gasp emanating from some inner spirit that wasn’t ready to let go of the vessel. One of the wonderful hospice workers told my brother, Corey and me that the dying often have to “work some things out” before they let go. At about 1AM she woke us with blankets. We decided to go home, and return in the morning.

The call came at 4:45AM. Dad was gone. Corey and I drove Dad’s car to the hospice and spent a few minutes with our father. Corey cried. I put my hand on Dad’s still warm forehead, and said, “goodbye dad.”

It was still dark and cool as we left the hospice. We walked slowly across a grass lawn toward the car. Then suddenly I heard my father’s voice say, “dental pick?” The dental picks were extended in Corey’s hand. He nailed it, and the two of us broke into stress relieving laughter for a good minute. Our Dad died, but he lives on in us.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    November 9, 2014 9:21 am

    Leo, you and Corey have such beautiful minds. I am so glad you penned these thought provoking memories. Love all 3 of you guys…xoxxoxo Mom

  2. November 10, 2014 8:42 am

    May His peace and comfort be with you and your family Leo.

    • November 10, 2014 9:36 pm

      I apologize for my lack of clarity. My dad passed in February of 2013. The post was a recollection of the amazing hospice care. Sorry.

  3. November 10, 2014 9:30 am

    I am so sorry for your loss Leo.

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