Endings and Beginnings


A funny hospital story was told me by my friend Harmon. His dad Bernie was fighting for his life. The old man’s pain was unendurable. “Harmon, pull the plug — pull the plug! Please!”

Harm, overwhelmed, kept silent.

Finally, he took a deep breath, and uttered, “Gee dad, I don’t know what to say, except, there is no plug.”

Indeed, the patient’s body, unsupported by technology, had a mind of its own. Bernie got out of the hospital and lived.

My friend Dan says that at the end of life you should make a “clean getaway,” as robbers sometimes do in cowboy movies. No fuss, over and out. Not that we get a choice, but I’m with Dan on this.

We are afraid of hospitals: tests, questions, and tears; sick people, contagion, and death. As a harried psychiatrist once said to a nurse on a closed psychiatric unit, “Keep my patients away from me!” More than he could bear, I guess.

There is only one perfect thing about hospitals, one not associated with dread: hospitals are places where babies are born. These newbies, if they look as contented as the little guy above, are about the best thing. I’m tempted to wax eloquent, but all the lyrical, unforgettable, and heart-stopping comments have long since been written.

Only one line in the antique span of history hasn’t been said about babies, until now.


Welcome to the world, William Hebert Stein, my grandson.

41 thoughts on “Endings and Beginnings

  1. Congratulations! May his life be filled with happiness and love!


  2. Dr. Harvey Friedson

    Congratulations Gerald,

    He looks just like you.



  3. Many Congratulations! He’s a beauty.


  4. Wow! Blessings galore! Enjoy him!


  5. Congratulations! What a blessing, thank you for sharing it with us. Your joy was palpable, enjoy being a granddad. Xx AG


    • Less was more, I hope. All of you have your own associations about such an event, so you are able to fill in the blanks. Thanks, AG.


  6. Sweet words in your wonderful style. Congrats!


    • It is easy to be sweet when you are in a happy daze (fortunately, not the old TV show, “Happy Days.”);) Thank you, Di.


  7. Congratulations and best of wishes! 🙂


  8. Congratulations! May he grow to be strong and do good things in the world.


  9. Awe congratulations Dr G, he looks very sweet


  10. Dr. Stein, I think I have only commented once before but that is not for the lack of thought or want, it is my fear and lurkerness (word?). I am an avid reader, and will try to start commenting despite my fears. Anyway, point being, I absolutely love reading your posts and am getting a feel for your thought process which enlightens me with every blog. In that line, I can only say congratulations and what a wonderful gift to you and yours! So amazing, children. And it’s your chance to spoil in every way!
    Thank you also for your insightfulness and kindness to your readers. It is apparent that you were/are an amazing therapist and good man (and excellent writer).


    • Thank you for all your praise, KK. I think this blog is relatively safe, as public places go, so I’m glad your considering taking a risky step. There have only been a couple of “over the line” comments, and these were directed at me. Those who choose to contribute comments are most welcome and have been very respectful of each other. Again, your kind words are the sweetest thing.


  11. Welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood. Babies are the best-so sweet and innocent. Enjoy! Sheila


  12. Babies are the most wonderful blessings! Congratulations to you and your family!


  13. Dr. Stein, may Baby William bring new light and joy into your lives.


  14. Welcome to the big wide world William And congratulations Gerald grandchildren are such delightful things, and so are grandpas🍼🎉👍


  15. There is a lot of fun spoiling the grandkids then handing them back to the parents. You may not have been able to do it with your own children but you can do it now with the grandchildren.


  16. Beautiful. Congratulations. A lucky little boy to have such a grandpa . May you have many years together


  17. Congratulations! What joy! My oldest grandchild just got married, after graduating college, and my two youngest started preschool and kindergarten last week. Fun times, always!


    • Thank you, Lois. He seems a robust little guy so far, resting up for who knows what. Another link in the chain of life. You are far too young to have a married grandchild, but good wishes all the same!

      Liked by 1 person

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