cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I know it is probably a strange thing to do, but I read the obituaries every morning. In today's morning Journal Sentinel, I saw the obituary for William Lamers, Jr. who died at the age of 80 in his home in Malibu. The obituary stated that he was surrounded by family and friends.
Mr. Lamers was trained as a Psychiatrist and graduated from the Marquette University School of Medicine in 1958. He helped start one of the first hospice programs after a friend of his told him, "I'm not sick, I'm only dying", in response to being refused permission to leave the hospital and go home to die. Lamers would watch over several hundred deaths over the years in which he was active.
I wrote some time ago about my friend John and the involvement I had in witnessing hospice care up close and personal as the result of being with John over the course of his dying. John, too, wasn't sick, he was just dying and I'm pretty sure he would've said that very thing if he had been forced to remain confined in a hospital rather than being permitted to live in his home. I am certain that he and I wouldn't have been able to enjoy a cigar in the course of the day's visit had that visit been in a hospital. Hospitals seem to frown on that kind of thing.
I had given almost no thought to the hospice program until John exposed me to it, but I must say that I believe it is among the best things that have been permitted to occur in the earthly journey from life being given to that time when our lives here on this earth are ended. For some, this is the absolute end; for others, it is a new beginning. (You just knew I couldn't let that opportunity pass by.)