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A Piece of My Mind
November 7, 2012

On Caring for Those Who Will Remain

Author Affiliations
 

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx, New York (eleanor.weinstein@nbhn.net).

JAMA. 2012;308(17):1749-1750. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.13254

Today is the fourth anniversary of my mother's death. She was a petite powerhouse of a woman—not even 5 feet tall. As a Holocaust survivor, she had experienced some of the worst that life offers. How ironic that she would die due to a freak fall on the way to her neighborhood supermarket, walking hand in hand with my father. Independent to a fault, with a healthy dose of vanity, she would not consider any assistive device like a cane or walker to help her walk more steadily and safely. Yet this was her first significant fall—losing her balance when a passerby knocked into her, causing the tumble, leading to the unfortunate cascade that would be the end of her. She pulled my father down too, neither of them steady without the other, walking through the street, as in life, holding each other up. My father's fall resulted in a hip fracture. Unfortunately, my mother broke several ribs and was in tremendous pain. They made their way home—walking the 4 blocks to their apartment before they called my sister and me—not knowing how they made it back.

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