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September 2011, Volume 41 Number 9 , p 12 - 12


  • Harleah G. Buck PhD, RN, CHPN


It was a most unusual -December 25th. The day had started like most Christmases, then changed dramatically, ending in an unexpected way.The whole family had gathered as in the years before: All four grown sons had returned home with their wives and families. Small children were running everywhere and babies were crying. Meals were frequent and large. The washing machine ran continuously. Christmas Eve had been particularly beautiful with the family gathering to sing carols.But what made this year different from all others was that, in the midst of all this activity, the children's grandfather lay dying of cancer. His children and grandchildren had gathered to celebrate his last Christmas with him.He'd been declining for months, but no one knew the end was this near. He'd always been a courteous and thoughtful man. By dying while everyone was gathered from their distant places, he inconvenienced no one.Christmas morning started chaotically with his intractable vomiting. Two of the daughters-in-law

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