06/19/2010 05:26 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Gratitude...Not Grief

My best friend, and wife, of almost 47 years, Pearl, just passed away, and it was both the saddest day of my life, and, surprisingly enough, still, joyfully blissful. We had discussed at some length the matter of death, and we both agreed that there should be no mourning period, but instead, a rebirth for the survivor. My blog of July 16 provided "Some Thoughts on Coping with Uncertainty and Despair." Now, the uncertainty and the despair are gone, and Pearl is at peace. Thornton Wilder, perhaps, said it best:

"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude."

During the past month, Pearl suffered from BOOP, a clot in the artery to her lungs and MRSA. (For those new to blogs and such, all you need to do is click on those colored words, and you will be transported to another site providing the details.) While she was uncomfortable throughout the ordeal, she was sedated, so should not have suffered much pain. However, every day, her support structure, people like me, couldn't help but associate her treatment with what was happening around us, and most of us weakened with each passing day.

She was on nearly constant intravenous feed of Heparin and Propofol for much of this period. There remains, of course, the Heparin (blood thinner) controversy, where 82 died a couple of years ago from what is still not confirmed, but is suspected to be contaminated samples from China containing chondroitin sulfate. Doubly worse for Pearl is that sometimes this compound comes from crustacean shells, and she is allergic to crab, lobster, etc. Particularly unnerving was that Michael Jackson might have died from Propofol (a sedative).

As I mentioned in that previous blog posting, I'm now covering the medical aspects of my book 2, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity, and just a few days ago I indicated that there are more deaths (almost always caught in a hospital) from MRSA than AIDS in the U.S. Finally, health care reform has dominated the discussion in D.C., further linking her case with the real world.

President Obama remarked that much of medical costs comes at the end of life. I can imagine if this happened to one of those 47 million or so without a medical plan. It would have been financially ruinous. Of course, you want the doctors to run every test they can to save her life, and I can only thank them for doing everything possible for her. These expenses for Pearl must have reached a quarter million dollars in a few short weeks. Is this good or bad? Well, that's part of the debate.

Anyway, life begins again for me, and do feel refreshed. Please join me in thanking Pearl for making our lives so much better. She would want me to end on a positive note, so I again quote Thornton Wilder:

"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude."