It's been a little over a week since you left, and I don't want you to be upset, but it has been pretty rough on all of us. We thought things were going well, but then everything changed so quickly and you were gone. It's still hard to believe that this all started with a kidney stone.
Don't worry - we'll be OK. We're all pulling together. But we see you, remember you, miss you in almost everything we do.
I know you were there the whole time, but I'm not sure how aware you are of just how great everyone was at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert. We honestly cannot think of any way that your care could have been better. The levels of professionalism, compassion and ability were as high as humanly possible. We had moments of frustration, but they were borne of our desire to see you doing better than you were; the doctors didn't want to build up false hope, and sometimes their frank assessments weren't what we wanted to hear. They did all they could for you, and they answered every question we had.
Drs. Webster and Schuster, who handled the surgeries, could not have been better as physicians or as people. They were the first ones to console us after you left, and their reactions in the moment proved the level of caring they had for you, and for us.
The other doctors were great, as well, but I have to tell you a funny story about Dr. Suber. He wears glasses and carries a traditional doctor's black leather bag - so naturally he reminded us of Doctor Goat from the book we all read when we were kids. I promise to track down a copy of that book so that your great-grandchildren will know the story, as well.
The respiratory therapy staff - Owen, Krista, Keegan and the rest - were true professionals whose caring ways comforted us even when the treatments required them to make you uncomfortable. Of special note, though, was Jack. He's great at what he does, and his warmth and wit helped us through those days when we didn't see much improvement in your condition. Oh, and that voice that kept telling you to "remember the name 'Owen'" - that was Jack. His secret is out.
Finally, I have to tell you about the nurses. Each of them was a saint in his or her own way, and all worked diligently to improve your condition, address your needs and make you as comfortable as possible. As I said, all of them - especially Maureen, Mariel, Mercy, Brejeet, Jonathan and Robin - were outstanding, as was Jason, who handled your dialysis. But June was our rock.
Since both of us lived in Rockford, Ill., June and I had a lot to talk about during my morning visits with you. She did a fantastic job of caring for you and keeping Dana, Bill and me up to speed on what was - and wasn't - happening and why. (For a Cubs fan, she's all right.) Most important, she was there when the call had to be made and she knew you and us well enough to ask the important question.
Lady, we all will love you and miss you forever. But I wanted you to know how grateful we are that you were in such good hands when you needed it the most.