Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thank You to the Village
From March 8 to March 17, I was focused entirely on my father - from serving as his healthcare navigator to arranging his funeral/memorial to ensuring my mother had a path forward.
For 10 days, I had to minimize my roles as a CIO/professor and maximize my roles as son/clinician.
I cancelled numerous meetings, speaking engagements, and classes. I backed out of commitments made months ago. My response to calls/emails/texts went from minutes to days.
All of this was necessary and appropriate to support my father.
Now that I'm back in Boston and restarting my usual schedule, I can say that the past 10 days were only possible because of the incredible outpouring of support I received from the village of people around me.
My wife and daughter flew to Los Angeles to support my father, my mother, and me.
My parents' friends brought food to the hospital, helped with funeral arrangements, and provided emotional support.
My staff at BIDMC covered for me in all my meetings and phone calls. Nothing bad happened and no urgent issue was overlooked.
My colleagues in the State and Federal government ensured the cadence of all our work continued without me.
The lessons learned
*Family must come first
*There is no work related urgency that trumps a focus on major life events
*The people who surround you in life make all the difference
Thanks again to the people who supported me. I've now completed all the tasks surrounding my father's death - from comfort care, to cremation, to memorial, to preparing the house for my mother's needs, to working on all the financial/administrative matters surrounding the death of a father/spouse.
The healing will take time, but with the great people who came together over the past 10 days, I'm confident that all will be well.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM
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Sir, please except my condolences on the loss of your father. Bearing these feelings online must be painful, and I hope knowing that your thoughts are well read and respected would bring your father much pride.
John - Your continued humility even in the face of intensely painful, personal loss is impressive. I have commented many times here that I learn so much from you. I thank YOU, once again, for sharing your experiences and for reminding us all of the power of gratitude.
Your journey had a lot of parallels for me. I lost my father in December after 3 months of hospitalization. I'm sure the village will keep supporting you if the road gets a little bumpy for a while. I found some old stuff from the past rising well after I felt at peace with it.
I've been reading your blog for quite some time and you're a continued inspiration for my work and life in general. Please accept my condolences for the loss you have to endure. Your way of sharing this tough time here makes me reflect on my own life and the angle I want to take toward raising our young daughter.
Thanks again for your inspiration and best wishes for the rest.
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