Just wanted to share a lovely excerpt from a NYTimes article entitled "Doctors and the 'D' Word." The article brings to mind a former supervisor who complained mightily about euphemisms; she preferred to call a spade a spade, and that extended to death.
At the beginning of the article the author, Danielle Ofri, writes about the different euphemisms she learned for death when first in medical school and interning.
My intern’s use of the term “passed” also brought to mind a wonderful poem called “Gaudeamus Igitur,” by John Stone, a cardiologist from Atlanta. This poem — the title translates to “Therefore Let Us Rejoice” — was delivered as a commencement address to a class of Emory medical students who probably didn’t realize how lucky they were. I read this poem to all of my students and interns because it speaks to the emotions of moving on in medical training and in life. It includes this passage:
For this is the end of examinations
For this is the beginning of testing
For Death will give the final examination
and everyone will pass.
When Dr. Stone died in 2008, I thought of this line. I know he would have been relieved that he didn’t fail.