• leaflet

    . . .a thin triangular flap of a heart valve. . . a small book usually having a paper cover . . . a medical lit-art e-journal from The Permanente Press
  • 1

He Died Alone

Prose, Vol 5: Iss 2

The notification arrived by fax. Please sign the death certificate for G O.
I was flummoxed. I had just seen him two weeks before and he was fine. I called the mortuary, and they told me I could get more details from the coroner, as it was a coroner’s case.

It turned out his wife came home and found him unresponsive. She called 911 and did CPR but he never woke up. It may have been a peaceful passing but when death is unwitnessed, it wanders through your mind, what if he died in agony? Eyes casting about, fearfully hoping someone would come in the door, see his distress and help him. Despite all we had done to help him with his medical conditions, he died alone.  I have a good relationship with his wife. He would come monthly for his chronic conditions, and she often sat in on his visits.

I was still afraid to call her. I’d like to say I did the right thing and called, but I did not. I left her in her grief alone. 

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