A Good Man Gone

My brother, Jim Reaugh, died July 12, 2013, with dignity and grace.  For 3 weeks before he died, he drove himself to the hospital for radiation. He was hospitalized on July 5 for extreme shortness of breath. A day later, they began treating him for heart arrhythmia.  When transferred to the ICU he said he wanted to be DNR–do not resuscitate.  He said no to any further treatment, including chemotherapy. He was very clear that he was ready to go.  He transferred to a Hospice facility a couple of days before he died.  The staff there kept him as comfortable as possible.  My husband and I were with him through that last week and as he died.

Jim was a fiercely independent, gentle soul.  He DID NOT want to need help of any kind.  He lived alone, had no wife or kids. He did hard physical work for over 20 years.  He still had friends from high school and others he got to know later.  He didn’t share much about his illness with anyone.  We didn’t know the extent of it until he went to Hospice.  It was in his brain, his lungs, the cavity around the lungs and most of the bones in his body.  It’s hard to imagine the pain he lived with the last month of his life.  He was strong and stubborn.

He told me he was afraid after he was admitted to the hospital.  We all knew the likely progression of his illness thanks to the internet. It would be bad and probably fatal.  After the DNR decision, I never saw anger and I never saw fear.  He seemed to be at peace.

He died on his terms and when he decided to go. I am so grateful for Hospice’s assistance.

I admire his courage.

I am proud to be his sister.

Published in: on August 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm  Comments (21)  
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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good job mom. I bet that was difficult

    • It took a while, but I wanted to finish it.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss…

  3. you done him proud, Robin. ❤

    • Thanks, Lisa. I’m grateful for your support and presence.

  4. Excellent tribute, Mama.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss; he sounds like a wonderful man and someone not just loveable, but honorable…gentle peace in your grief and healing.

    • Honorable is a good word. Thank you for your kind words.

  6. SO glad you posted this. It was straight from your heart.

    Thank you for sharing, as we say.

    Love you. Jan

  7. Robin,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you, Mike and the girls.

  8. What a lovely tribute! I know he is missed by everyone who knew him — friends, business associates, and family, and especially by you. Thank you for sharing. Love you!

    • Thanks, Donna. You’d have liked him, I think.

  9. My father died in a Hospice house just hours after being transferred from a glaringly lit and noisy hospital room. Although he never saw it, there was a bird feeder outside his window, natural light. Like your brother he was ready to let go. May we all die in such kind surroundings and with such serenity of spirit.

    It is those of us who are left behind who suffer. Take care of yourself, Robin!

    • I’m sorry about your father, but what a blessing even a short time with Hospice can be.

  10. So beautifully written, Robin, and as you say, what a strong man, silent and assured of his life, indeed a good man. You are and have been in my thoughts, Robin, although I am just now commenting.

  11. Signing a DNR order can be a hard decision for both ill persons and their families, but I hope I have the courage to do it if I am ever in a position where it is appropriate. It sounds as if the world is a poorer place without your brother. Sincerest condolences.

    • Thank you, Susan. Yes, the world is a poorer place without him. What a lovely way to put it.

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