In Memoriam – A Lemonade L’chaim from the Grave

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As Mark Twain said, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated!”

Seriously, you thought I was going to leave you all without a final post from the grave? If you’re reading this, I am now resting comfortably and hopefully watching over those I most cherished while on earth.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust as they say…

Someplace there is a lemon tree that will bear fruit from the earth. That sour fruit will provide joy and perhaps lemonade to those I leave behind. Enjoy the sweet lemonade and think of the lessons shared in all my lemonade posts.

THANK YOU;
to friends and family that spread (or will spread) the first shovelfuls of dirt over my final resting place;
to everyone that came to say goodbye (live or virtually);
for letting me be part of your life;
for moving on with fond memories of what was;
for following my cancer journey, believing in me, caring for me, inspiring me, and supporting me;
for moving forward and enjoying life in my absence;
for understanding and accepting that I will still live on with you through cherished memories by thoughts, music, photos, videos, various writings and teachings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my dear wife Robin who shaped my life, supported me in sickness and in health until death did we part, and who with me created new life and nurtured our children to adulthood and beyond creating a legacy far beyond our years, thank you! I will continue to cherish you throughout eternity. You truly were the wind beneath my wings for all our married life. I’m so sorry we can’t share our golden years together in person, but I will always be with you and will rest well knowing you will be with me someday. I’m so sad to leave you behind, but we have created the most loving family anyone could hope for, and it comforts me to know you’ll never be alone. We bought our first house together and made it our home; we agreed on having four children; you supported me when I was focused on giving music lessons and playing in a band for years which took up many weekends; you supported and believed in me throughout the horrible whistleblowing ordeal at the VA in the 1990’s through early 2000’s; for some crazy reason you supported me going back to college for my PharmD in 1997 despite all we had going on with kid activities;  you put up with my dedication to my career and all the travel that entailed, you took care of me and encouraged me throughout my cancer journey (and you made the right choices); and together we made wonderful children all of whom have wonderful spouses and their own children.  In our grandchildren, together we created a wonderful and growing legacy that will continue to flourish.

For those old enough reading (or listening to this) that remember the band Meatloaf, you’ll recall the applicability to these select lyrics from Sometimes When We Touch from me to Robin…

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
I’d rather “tell” you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie

And who am I to judge you
In what you say or do
I’m only just beginning
To see the real you

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides

Romance’s in all strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the years security
“The” tenderness survives
I’m just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize-fighter
Still trapped within my youth

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides

At times I’d like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I’d like to break through
And hold you endlessly
At times I understand you
And I know how hard you try
I’ve watched while love commands you
And I’ve watched love pass you by
At times I think we’re drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again

And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides

To my children Jason, Sarah, Hannah, and Shirah, you are my most prized lifetime gifts. You have all made me proud. You all need to know that the photo on this post does not mean Sarah is my favorite daughter (or favorite child), even though she used to believe that, at least up until she felt it slipping away when Hannah went to pharmacy school, and then everyone moved out of the area except Shirah.  I just like the pic! I love you all for the same, for different, and unique attributes. I promise to be at your side always.  For medication questions moving forward, you’ll need to call or text our other family docs, Hannah or “Little” Jeff. For you two, just ask, WWJD (What would Jeff do?).

I am proud that I was part of all four of your Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, your multiple graduations from elementary school through graduate school, and your wedding celebrations. Holding and protecting all of you as children, encouraging you to leave our nest and pursue your dreams, and cherishing all seven of our grandchildren created by our four children and their spouses has fulfilled the last years of my life in indescribable ways, with so much love and happiness, that I can’t even find the words to describe how grateful I am to have experienced each precious one of them with all of you. One crazy advantage of knowing your time is limited is that everyone has the opportunity to use that time for family gatherings, for reminding each other the importance of telling one another “I love you”, and all the hugs we exchanged over the last several months. Even though “it kills me” that I won’t be there to participate in all the wonderful future celebrations and milestones with all of you, your children, and Mom, I consider myself a lucky man to have had you all in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my children-in-law (Lindsey – favorite daughter from another mother, ANDREW, Kris, and Jeff), I love you as though your are my biological children. I trust you all know why Andrew’s name is capitalized – now we are even and I can rest peacefully. You have all completed me by completing my family, by providing grandchildren, and supporting each other in sickness and health until death do you all part.

 

 

 

 

 

To my grandchildren, I trust you will make your parents as proud as they made me. In this previous blog, Bet on Life, Lemonade and Maybe Tequila with the photos says it all with Jonah, Penny, Anna (aka Silbie), Aria (except of course for our newest grandchildren Emily (aka Boombah), Asher, and Jethro all pictured above because they were not yet born at time of the above post. I love you all to pieces.

And of course, thank you to my parents (Gil and Sondra), who nurtured me and my siblings (Terry and Debbie) to create the lives we ultimately chose. And then there’s Davida, with Gil who helped nurture him through his golden years. Pictured here is 4 generations of “Fudin” boys, but of course now we can add Asher and Jethro to the group. Also, thank you to my in-laws Sam and Ellen for actually reading my blogs, all the Thanksgivings in NY for so many years, and all the good times.

 

Also, let’s not forget our sweet Siberian Husky fur baby, Meeko. How could he know I was balancing life against death in my last few months? He cuddled when needed and encouraged me to walk him when he knew I had just enough strength. I just know if he were at my final resting spot, he’d mark a spot, smile, and howl to the heavens that I’m on the way. Meeko, it’s okay to mark that spot as yours because you do own a large part of my heart. Cuddle up to Robin even though she get overheated by the warmth of your beautiful coat.

 

My resident graduates over the years are a cherished legacy that will carry on excellent patient care and will continue to inspire and teach others. I promise you that you cannot comprehend the positive impact you will have on thousands of clinicians and patients in years to come, as those you have taught will teach others.  Your impact, especially through your teachings and writings, is the greatest “mitzvah” one can achieve. The academic seeds planted within you have already established a forest of knowledge and positive outcomes.  Continue your excellent work to help patients and interdisciplinary team members while creating new generations of learned clinicians.

To my pharmacy, medical, behavior health, nursing, and all other colleagues many of whom are pictured on this link, thank you for inspiring me, supporting me during my illness, for teaching and writing with me, for allowing me to mentor you, for teaching me, and for fiercely debating with me at national conferences. Thank you to The Society of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacists for setting up a non-profit DR. JEFFREY FUDIN MEMORIAL FOUNDATION. TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS can be made for any amount at this LINK, where people or industry can donate to foster the legacy enabling PharmD pain specialists to grow and flourish, and to ensure that patients don’t needlessly suffer and have their pain and palliative care needs treated appropriately and safely.

Thank you to industry leaders and educators that have provided platforms and various congresses for teaching and learning and for affording me the honor to participate across multiple disciplines.

To my dear friends and neighbors, especially to those that brought us meals when I was first diagnosed with cancer and those that either drove me to or offered to drive me to chemo, I am forever grateful.

I’m going to end by admitting that when it comes to life, as the Frank Sinatra song goes, I did it my way!” And so, keeping with that theme, I ask friends and family to remember the following. Approximately one year from now, family and friends will return to my gravesite for an unveiling of my gravestone, where I’ll be waiting for you. The tradition is that people place small stones on and around the gravestone. I ask that you remember to bring sugar free lemon cough drops or lemon rock candy. Take one for yourself and place it in your mouth, and taste the sweet lemonade with me watching from above. This will be a reminder of my life dedication to fun, family, togetherness, and my mantra of turning lemons into lemonade. Please make sure it is sugar free for two reasons. First, I hate ants crawling above me and second, the doctors were so worried I’d have elevated sugars from dexamethasone palliation, I wouldn’t want them to worry about that now that I’m resting.

I realize that our religion expects us to mourn the death of loved ones and those we hold dear to our hearts. In fact, ultra orthodox Jews in some cases will not attend any celebrations after the death of a spouse for a year. I understand and respect this, and I know that today brings much sadness for all of us.  BUT, for me, PLEASE celebrate my life while you mourn, with music, laughter, and love.  Try to extract lemonade from the sourness of lemons as I transition to eternal life. I’m sad to depart so early in my life, but I’m happy for being part of your lives. So, move forward and celebrate the good memories we will share forever!

And finally, as you reflect on this day and your own lives, remember
“..,in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

Amen, peace out, and love to all! xoxo

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, “comments are enthusiastically welcomed”. I’ll find a way to get your messages!

43 thoughts on “In Memoriam – A Lemonade L’chaim from the Grave

  1. Dr. Fudin, I’ll always remember your willingness to fly to Florida to share your knowledge. You made pain management so practical and easy to apply. You will be missed but your legacy lives on. My sincere condolences to your beautiful family. Pray your memory brings a smile and utter joy especially on the dark days.

  2. Dear Dr.
    Jeff and Family: This blog and Jeff’s advocacy for palliative care and for pain patients has made me respect him greatly. I’ve been following his journey, and even though I knew his passing was imminent, I was still surprised and greatly saddened. People like Jeff who are like a force of nature seem indestructible, and so it is hard to believe they are gone from the earthly plane. Shalom and hugs to you all. Celebrate a life well lived and cry because we miss him!

  3. Jeff,

    Fair winds and following seas on the journey we all must take, and may God bless you.

    It was great to know you and thank you so very much for all you have done, and all that you have given of yourself to help people, like me who live with daily intractable pain.

    This world will be a lesser place without you, my friend. Go in peace.

  4. Every time we hear a saxophone, your spirit will be there with us in every note. We will miss you greatly in the “neighborhood” and hope to see you in the new ‘hood someday. You have made a difference in this world and left a loving family. A wonderful legacy…

  5. You left our world a better place because of your presence. You will be truly missed by all who had the pleasure of your company. Rest In Peace my friend.

  6. Dr. Fudin,
    What a tremendous blessing you have been to the lives of countless pain patients as well as physicians, veterans, academics, students and all those lucky enough to have had the great fortune to have either known you or followed your work. One of my favorite quotes by Edward Bok is, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” You have surpassed this by leaps and bounds and I am forever grateful for your life. Godspeed & God bless. My prayers are with your family.

  7. I read these words and I feel as I knew you and your most beautiful loving family ~ your words touched my heart and soul ~ peace and love to all of you ☮️

  8. A remarkable human being indeed! You made my pharmacy experience that much sweeter and can’t thank you enough Dr. Fudin! Reading these posts have given me both sorrow and joy! Thank you for capturing and sharing your experience! What a legacy you leave behind. I’m proud to have known you! Rest well!

  9. What a remarkable human…I wish I have known you when you were still on earth…Heaven. was created for people like you. Remember us when you get there.

  10. So sad to see the news of your passing. You were a mentor and role model to so many in pharmacy. Rest In Peace

  11. Jeff,
    You’re already missed. Love you and glad to know you’ll be watching over all of us.

  12. Jeff, you were one-of-a-kind. You were our family’s go-to person for any medical questions. And I will not forget {what little I can remember 🙂 } the wonderful FudinFests. I already miss hearing your chainsaw. I have no doubt that you will be looking down on us from Heaven guiding us to be better persons as a result of having known you. Rest in peace- you certainly deserve it.

  13. I wish I could have been blessed enough to have met you, but your empathetic nature towards the disabled whom are LEGITIMATELY DIAGNOSED with Chronic Pain will never be forgotten. I pray that you are in peace now Dr..
    I also hope another compassionate/empathetic human being picks up the torch and continues the beautiful work you’ve done, as well as the fact that you have given us pain patients and palliative care patients a voice. This world lost a beautiful soul. Rest in peace and God Bless you and your family.

  14. Such a wonderful note from a remarkable man. As a great, short song says “the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ Jeff has surely taken an enormous amount with him.!

  15. You are an inspiration to so many lives and any help foster so many careers. I’ll never look at a lemon tree the same.

  16. i have closely followed u the past year and read all ur messages! U inspired so many of us! Rest in peace!

  17. The void you leave behind you in the profession of pharmacy is vast and will be difficult to fill. Thank you for all of the guidance and insight throughout the years. I am a better provider because of our time together. Godspeed.

  18. We have no words – Rest In Peace dear friend. Robin, If there is anything we can do please let us know. Love Ann & Steve

  19. Jeff was one of a kind! He will be missed in the pharmacy community! Sending my deepest condolences to his family.

  20. Peace and blessings to your entire family. Dr. Fudin was one of my favorite speakers. May he Rest In Peace.

  21. There are no words adequate for this moment. Godspeed and thank you for all you’ve done for so many.

    Warmly,

    Andrea

  22. What a beautiful life you have lived & shared with your whole loving heart. You have touched my heart with the enthusiasm, love, & dedication that ruled your life. A shining example of how profitable & meaningful we all can make our lives.
    With much grace & gratitude,

  23. Remarkable! Just like his interactions and influence in the many lives that he touched.
    RIP Jeff

  24. Godspeed and thank you for all of the time you spent educating me — no more so than this past year. May you memory be for a blessing.

  25. Thank you for your friendship and the laughs and shard times through the years. You will be forever cherished. ❤️

  26. What a beautiful spirit and soul! The sun here is just beginning to set as I finished reading these words. I hear a bell sound in the distance. I’m so grateful to have known Jeff. Our times of connection were formed thanks to Andy’s high regard and love of Jeff. In that close circle, his enthusiasm for life touched mine indelibly. He consistently, and unwaveringly, offered an exemplary perspective of how to live life to the fullest! It’s noteworthy that I’m just one lemon on a whole lemon tree of life, where visions of lemonade now abound. You are loved… and your grin, voice and comments here are dearly missed. Sending a big hug to Robin and to their beautiful family, since words are just not enough.

  27. To my dear friend Jeff’s family. I knew him very well. We worked together at Albany VA hospital for many years. He was a truthful, resourceful fellow I can always count to tell me the truth no matter the consequences. A vertical man.
    I just found out he died. What a loss. A brilliant mind. Always in my heart. God bless you brother.
    To his children I say, be proud of your father he was an example of propriety, decency and academic excellence.
    My sincere condolences
    Hugs

  28. Jeff that was so moving and special. Thank you for sharing a slice of your life with us and how special and beautiful it was. The love you and your family have for each other is inspiring. I am sending love and prayers. All our love. The Gianotti family.

  29. Wow, you rocked our world! Love you Jeffrey Fudin, you smile is imprinted on our hearts.
    Mary

  30. You have always amazed me Jeff… and this is such a beautifully written tribute to a life well lived and an amazing legacy. The world is a better place because of you and this will live on and on because of your beautiful family. God speed, Dr Fudin… God speed.

  31. You are truly a Mench!!You have given so much of yourself and look at the wonderful legacy that you have left!!! A loving wife, children and grandchildren as well as the adoration of your peers, friends and students!! You have accomplished a phenomenal amount!!
    You will always be in the hearts and minds of many!!
    May your memory be blessed thru this difficult time and finally be at peace!!!

  32. Thank you Jeffrey. I’m one of those distant medical acquaintances of which you have so many. In your life, you’ve helped me be a better care giver, and in your courageous death, you’ll help me become a better person. Part of you lives in me. And I’m truly blessed to have crossed your path.

  33. Already miss you dear Jeff.
    Please stay close enough to know when each of us needs a little info/ mentoring from the one and only Dr. Jeff Fudin.
    Rest well dear friend. You have certainly fought the good fight.
    Robin and family – prayers of comfort and healing coming to you

  34. With great sorrow & honor of one of our heroes in #pharmacy we say good bye for now to Dr. Jeffrey Fudin PharmD. It was so good knowing you & learning from you! ♥️

    RIP @JeffreyFudin

  35. Dr. Jeffrey Fudin, I feel very grateful to have gotten to know you virtually over the past couple of years. You gave all of us in the pain community good & promising information.
    Then you came down with this cancer illness and you continued to share your life here. I loved the lemons into lemonade legacy you brought us. It makes me feel the love & care you have shared throughout your life with your family, loved ones, and each of us here on social media. I am grateful for knowing you. You will live on in each of us. ❤️

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