One of the hardest parts of being a nurse is comforting and supporting the bereaved family at the time of death. Normally, family members are heartbroken, grieving at the death. On a few occasions, I witnessed something different. Mr. Jones, an elderly patient owned a successful insurance agency. Every morning, he donned freshly laundered silk pajamas. When discharged, He wore a fine finest suit, shirt, shoes, and hat and took great pride in being noticed. He bragged of buying a new Cadillac every year, dining at the most prestigious restaurants, and enjoying a membership at The Country Club.
His son, Junior Jones was in his late fifties and had always worked for Daddy. It appeared Mr. Jones was none to generous nor kind to Junior. Junior dressed in cheap clothes and drove an ancient compact car. It must have been miserable since he was so tall he had to fold up like a jackknife to fit in it. When Junior came to the hospital to consult with Daddy about the business, Daddy was condescending, snide, and critical, never showing Junior the least respect.
One the morning Daddy died, we’d called to notify Junior his father’s death appeared imminent. Junior came streaking into his father’s room just moments before Mr. Jones’ death. I offered my condolences. Junior ignored me, opened the drawer of the bedside table, dug out the keys to his father’s Cadillac, his father’s checkbook and left the room without speaking. A nursing assistant who was a friend of the family walked him out to the parking garage. He handed her the keys to his small car and drove off in his father’s big, black Cadillac. That was different! I guess he’d had enough.