Thank goodness, I was telecommuting. Working at home - actually, truth be known, I was napping. My boss’ attitude is that three telecommute hours are worth eight office hours, and he’s right. I got done what I needed to do, so I was napping.
As soon as I answered the phone, I knew something was wrong. Mom’s voice was… choked up. Mom doesn’t cry easily. So I immediately asked, “Mom! What’s wrong?!” “Dr Gorospe died today.”
Yes, that is his real name. No shame in letting all of you know I knew him, as this is a point of pride: He was one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. And this is the first death I’ve experienced of someone I’ve actually known well. At one time, I’d hoped to be his daughter-in-law.
He was a Pathologist - a line of work that I wanted to get into as a young, impressionable Bio student in 1989. So Dr Gorospe invited me to an autopsy on New Year’s Day, 1990. When they opened the body, and I smelled the smell, he said “THIS is why, despite what we see when we open a body, most pathologists smoke. It kills the olfactory nerves.”
It killed more than that.
Yesterday morning, at 3:30 am, Dr Gorospe died of lung cancer. From what my mother tells me (having talked to his new widow), it was a difficult death. He always thought he’d beat it, and was fighting it, even though the doctors told him there was no hope. He was diagnosed in November. From that day until this, he spent a grand total of 23 days at home. His goal was to die at home; he didn’t make it.
Tomorrow, my mother is flying 3000 miles to attend his funeral. I wish I could be with her. But, since I can’t, what can I offer to one of the finest men I’ve known but a thread about how his death has affected me? (And it is much more deep than what I have actually expressed.)
Good luck to you, Al, in the great beyond. I hope to meet up with you someday.