One year ago, my grandfather, who we affectionately called "Papa", passed away. After spending years on oxygen and weeks uncomfortably in a hospital bed, he returned home to live his final weeks.
My whole family visited the next weekend, and we shared several meals together. We shared stories about his humor, humility and heart for his family.
When he was in his late twenties in the 1950's, Papa had been an accountant in the blossoming Silicon Valley. Despite the incredible opportunities and salaries, he was working long hours, and was unable to spend much time with his expanding family.
Papa decided to move my whole family to a small town in the Central Valley in California to live on the farmland his parents had lived on. Papa put family first, and inspired our family to do the same.
After we finished sharing, Papa told us that his proudest accomplishment was the people in the room.
Two days later, Papa died peacefully with his pastor and daughter by his side.
While his end-of-life experience was smooth and meaningful, deaths often rattle families.
For me, this raises the questions about the role of hospitals in the end of life experience.
How can hospitals more closely resemble homes? Food and family were two keys to Papa's experience... how can hospitals inspire meaningful conversations at the end of life?