March 5th, 2012
During my recovery from a partial mastectomy performed in January, my father suddenly died. His wife returned from a trip to find him, mid-day, still in bed and impossible to awaken. After being transported to the hospital, the presence of blood in his mouth led physicians to suspect a neurological event. The damage was severe and he stopped breathing two days later in an ICU bed. All possible care had been given and we will never be certain of the factors which precipitated the event.
He’d been in fine health the day before when he’d asked me to come by and discuss my upcoming trip to Puerto Rico with him. It had been many years since I had traveled out of the country and he wanted to offer advice on the particulars of dealing with customs, airline inspections, luggage management etc. The trip was a gift from my family to aid in my recuperation. His advice was helpful as always, but it was to be the last time we’d ever speak. Thirty six hours later, a phone message from my sister informed me that he’d been taken to the hospital and was not expected to recover. I spent the next two days hanging about the intensive care unit of North Shore Hospital in Manhasset, NY. All possible care was offered and I don’t believe he suffered during those days of unconsciousness.
His name was Howard Rubin and a synopsis of his professional life can be found in the obituary here. An expert gemologist, he invented a system of color description novel to his industry. It offers a degree of innovation to appraisers all over the world in communicating precise information about gemstones to one another.
Methods of communication are, after all, the basis of our common human existence. As a speech pathologist, this is a concept I can greatly appreciate. His accomplishments, summarized in that obit, remind me to celebrate his life rather than grieve his unexpected death. Still hale and hearty at the age of eighty-six, we’d expected to have him around for many years yet to come.
He will be greatly missed.