My cousin, John Solomon, died this past week at the age of 68. He had pancreatic cancer. From time of diagnosis to time of death was very short – less than a year. We are saddened by his passing.
John’s mom and my mom were sisters. . John was the first child born in the immediate family so he always had a special place in my mom’s heart. We are a close family so we spent time a lot of time together over the years. Most importantly, John was a good person. John never seemed to have a bad thing to say about anyone. He had the salesman’s natural smile and demeanor. He was always easy to talk to and a willing listener. He would be the kind of person anyone would want for a neighbor, a friend or a co-worker. The speakers at his funeral reinforced every one of those points.
On top of all that, he handled his upcoming demise with a rare grace and eloquence. His last e-mail to his family and cousins said the following (everything in italics):
we (really I) decided that hospice care was the next logical step. As a result, I signed up with a company called Hospice of the Western Reserve yesterday. The concept of hospice is to make the patient comfortable physically, mentally and spiritually in the last days of life. It’s not a place, but a concept, a philosophy. Their goal is to keep the patient in his home as long as possible, and, in fact, to have the patient pass away in his home, if at all possible. Their goal is to give the patient the highest quality of life possible during the last few weeks/months of their life and to allow the patient to die with dignity.
You all know that I’m not afraid of death. I know that only my body will die, and I will be united with Jesus Christ at the end of my earthly life.
I will save a spot for each of you when your time comes. (My attempt at humor).
Wow. Pretty powerful words. Very inspiring. I hope that we all can stare our demise in the face with such grace and dignity. I’ll miss you cousin.