Yesterday afternoon, August 11, 2018, Franklin passed away at Virginia Mason hospital, surrounded by family. At the end, his passing was peaceful and he was not in pain.
Earlier this week we had still been optimistic that he might recover enough to begin the clinical trial; Dr. Picozzi said that Franklin still had a spot saved. Franklin was still having considerable trouble breathing, however, and was also eating very little. On Thursday, he had a CT scan to determine whether fluid (ascites) was causing pressure on his lungs, and whether this could be relieved. The scan showed, however, that while there might be fluid, there were also metastases in the lungs.
Franklin continued to receive visitors throughout Thursday and Friday; he was alert much of the time but also sleeping a lot. On Friday, the doctors met with the family for a care conference. The result of this was a decision to evaluate the next steps over the weekend – whether Franklin would stay where he was, move to hospice care at Virginia Mason, or move to in-home care.
One of his last wishes on Saturday morning was to wear “regular” clothes rather than a hospital gown. So Linnea found him a soft fleece shirt that he could wear, which made him happy.
He then asked to be removed from supplemental oxygen and other support except for his morphine drip. He told Linnea that he was ready, and that he was not afraid.
Over the course of Saturday, he quickly slipped into unconsciousness and his breathing became shallower, but he did not appear to be in pain. He was attended by Linnea, his mother, his son David, his sister Elizabeth, his niece Kimberly and nephew William and his family, and Linnea’s sons – my brother Matthew and me. David’s, Matthew’s, and my families were also able to come in briefly to say goodbye. Franklin’s daughter Catherine, who had been in constant contact with Franklin’s doctors since she had to return to Boston, joined by phone.
Around 4:30pm, Pastor Jimmy Hao from Grace Chinese Lutheran Church began a commendation service for Franklin. As we held hands and prayed, Franklin took his last breaths.
My mother and Franklin’s entire family are extremely grateful for all the support that you all have shown over the past three years. Franklin would not have lived as long as he did, with the quality of life that he had, without your love and assistance.
We will post details about services and other memorials in the coming days, but the tentative plan is to have services the weekend of August 24-26. For now, the best way to contact Linnea is via text or email (or mail); she is exhausted and is not receiving visitors or calls at the moment.
Yesterday’s date was a palindrome – 8-11-18 – which Franklin would have appreciated.