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“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way." Never was there such an untruthful statement, quoted with no awareness by Adam. We are born with fleshly contact with our mothers, most of us with a doctor and nurse in attendance. Most of us die with family surrounding us. Human companionship is the rule, not the exception in life. We must ensure that the isolation in death prescribed during the COVID pandemic never happens again.

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Nov 3, 2023Liked by Adam Cifu, MD

My last 2 years were spent providing hospice for first my dad and then my mom. It has resulted in a complicated grief that perhaps is similar to survivor’s guilt. I did all I could and yet they died. Death is inevitable. But it was clear neither welcomed death. Both desperately hoped I would find a way to turn the table on the inevitable. Nurses would try to comfort me by pointing out my parents lived a long life. It was a slight comfort, well intended, if also wholly inadequate. My parents wanted more life, more time to be with each other, and with us. The best I could do was offer my unflinching love during difficult days and nights. Their faces told me all so clearly that they had hoped for more. Those who take on the care of the dying have to make their peace with this outcome. You will give all that you have and each day you will lose them hour by hour.

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After a somber read for this 69 year old post cpr survivor the hunter Thompson reference is priceless. I laughed thinking “ we were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the dessert when the drugs began to take hold.. fear and loathing Vegas style. Humor saves us I guess or hope.

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Always a beautiful reflection on life

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Nov 3, 2023Liked by Adam Cifu, MD

Working in long term care, death is common in my world. But I have not experienced lonelier deaths than during the pandemic when the elderly dying were denied family comfort at the bedside. That must never happen again.

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Nov 3, 2023Liked by Adam Cifu, MD

Profound is a word that doesn’t usually come to mind when I read Sensible Medicine. Thank you for this post.

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Nov 3, 2023Liked by Adam Cifu, MD

Your reflections on death are important revelations about life. The contrast in the lives of those who die alone vs those who die with family nearby could not illustrate more clearly that how we live our lives affect how we will die. The coming tsunami of baby boomers with dementia is a disaster we are psychologically avoiding more than death!

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Nov 3, 2023Liked by Adam Cifu, MD

Another wonderful, kind reflection. I am a nurse of 42 years . The challenges for people caring for loved ones can be enormous and are often not really talked about . Your stories help humanize the issues Thanks

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Nov 3, 2023Liked by Adam Cifu, MD

A year ago my father died after a two year decline in health ( cardiac amyloidosis.) My mother provided most of the in home care, an exhausting task which she would not relinquish although substantial resources were available. She was devastated by his passing, but also ( guiltily) relieved, and eventually angers that he left her alone.

He died at home, with my sisters and mother in attendance. This was clearly his wish, and his last words to my oldest sister were “ it’s beautiful.” I suspect that it was better for him, and know with certainty that it was better for my mom, that loved ones were present. I a willing to take the leap ( despite the lack of validated survey data) that these results are generalizable and reproducible.

Thanks as always for your humanity.

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