Monday, August 22, 2005

So, at last, the thank you letter has been written.

In the week between my grandmother's death and her funeral in early July, I composed a letter of thanks to the staff at the amazing Good Samaritan Medical Center in Arizona. The first draft was long, sentimental, an obvious stab at self-therapy in the wake of a devastating loss. Happily, I am a procrastinator by nature, and had time to go back and heavily self-edit. The letter has been much on my mind these 7 weeks, but I haven't had the heart to print the final draft. A few days before the funeral, I busied myself by going to a fine stationer's and purchasing a new quill, ink, and some fine paper for the task, and still it has been a sword of Damocles hanging heavy in the air above my head. It's rather like flipping through my address book on my cell phone and I can't bring myself to delete her phone number entry. Too painful.

Today, I finally put ink to paper and will send it off at last. This grief is terrible. Bertie understood and loved me unconditionally, and you don't get many of those in this life, and such a blessing if one of them is a grandparent. For posterity, this is the final cut:

"Dear Dr. Kalayah, Dr. Syed, et al,
Recently you and ICU staff at Good Samaritan shepherded my grandmother, Alberta Kent, through her final hours of life. I wish you could have met her in other circumstances, but I want you to know that it was a tremendous comfort to me that you so capably attended her needs at that time. Your direct but gentle presentation of options to our family was, for me, an anodyne after a battery of confusing diagnoses elsewhere. Thank you, finally, for allowing my sister and me to visit her one last time early on the morning we departed Arizona. As I left, I was too overwrought to adequately convey my gratitude. May you be eternally blessed for the work you do. Best wishes, etc..."

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