My boss died on Sunday. He was 69 years old, my mentor, a really fantastic attorney who taught me a lot. He had late stage lung cancer. I saw him Friday (at the ICU) and knew it would be a matter of days. He was conscious and sedated, but gasping for air in repeated short breaths. He had an oxygen tube in his nose intubating the maximum level of oxygen. Also was getting morphine to suppress respiratory effort and Ativan to keep him calm, but I couldn't tell if he was totally comfortable or not. He recognized me, clearly, and tried to speak, but the words couldn't come out. I don't think he had the energy left to expel enough air to talk. As I was leaving he grabbed my hand with both hands and shook my hand. I interpreted it as a goodbye. Maybe a thanks as well. I will never know.
Now I am in Florida for Thanksgiving week, visiting my 84 year old mother who also has lung cancer but is treating it actively at this time. I am wondering if this is the last Thanksgiving I will spend with her, and how my father will hold up during this. The end for my boss wasn’t pretty and I am hoping my mother doesn’t have the same ending. I have been thinking a lot lately of this death and dying stuff. It’s tough. How do you all get through it?