As I stand beside the bed in Mr. Jerome’s living room, his pit bull puppy sniffs the body bag lying on a stretcher nearby. His cat curls up on the bedside shelf.
“That dog gonna be a problem?” asks Jude, one of the crematory guys.
“She might get underfoot,” says the neighbor, whose name I can’t remember. “But she’s a lover, not a fighter.”
Jude and Chuck are here to pick up Mr. Jerome, who died of prostate cancer today. His body lies on the bed–the wasted husk of a once lively, athletic man who had taught history in a New Jersey middle school.
I’m a hospice chaplain; Mr. Jerome was my client. I’d known him for about six months.