George was 68 years old and dying from pancreatic cancer, which had spread to his liver. He was a convert to Catholicism and loved to hear Scripture verses read by his daughter, his wife, his nurse and anyone else who paid him a visit.
One of his favorite visitors was a gentle priest named Father Seamus O’Flynn, who visited many of my patients over the years. He was familiar with tending to the sick and the dying and approached everything in the way a man of faith would. He understood that George was beginning to die but was not at all sure of how to do it.
George wore a very beautiful diamond ring, one he treasured because the love of his life, Anne, had given it to him. She had her mother’s large diamond and other smaller ones reset into a large ring for George. She gave it to him on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and it meant the world to him.
The sight of him sitting with Father O’Flynn and Anne two days before he died, hearing gently that it was time for him to say goodbye, is forever etched in my mind and heart. Although he did not want to leave Anne, George was open to what Father O’Flynn told him. In one gentle moment, he took the ring from his finger and placed it into her hands. They sat quietly together, head to head, without the need for words. George died peacefully surrounded by everyone he loved.