Saying Goodbye with Google Hangouts

Saying Goodbye with Google Hangouts by Katie Shea Design #KatieSheaDesign

My husband and I had flown down to Florida April 2013 to spend some time with his Dad. My father in law had been battling prostate cancer for over a decade and it was getting worse.

We had noticed his accelerated deterioration over the previous months  on our Google Hangout chats.

We met online very regularly with him and his wife Laura.  We were able to spend time with him and discern that indeed the doctor’s prognosis was pretty accurate and he did not have much time left as reported.

We figured that we would be flying down frequently to visit as his disease progressed.

When we arrived we soon realized that our Dad’s health was much more further along than even the Google Hangouts had revealed.

The nurse that attended my father in law took me aside quietly and let me know that he had been earnestly awaiting his son’s arrival.  She also gave me her opinion that he was “waiting” to see his son.  I got the shivers as she communicated what I knew was very near.

My father in law’s health declined rapidly within 24 hours of that conversation.

Hospice was called in and set up bedside care around the clock.  This all happened within three days of our arrival to visit him.

We kept in constant communication with our three grown children through Google Hangouts and text messaging .

Three days passed with Hospice tending to my father in law.  Hospice decided that his passing did not seem to be imminent so they removed their care for the time being and were on standby.

My father in law became cognitive for a very small burst.  We had the Hospice music therapist come by and we all had a music jam session that seemed to brighten him up for a short bit.

My Father in law was “Music” a professional Jazz musician, educator and an author:

Emile graduated from the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. He later earned a Masters of Music Ed at New Jersey City University. Emile De Cosmo has been active as a teacher, musician, and jazz clinician for over 50 years. Playing woodwind instruments, he has freelanced in the New York area with many noted musicians on TV and radio commercial sound tracks, club dates, concerts, and shows. Formerly an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Improvisation at New Jersey City University, an Applied Music instructor at New Jersey City University and Farleigh Dickinson University, Concert/Marching /Jazz Band Director at Fort Lee High School, Artist in Residence/Teacher /Mentor for the Jersey City school district and author of 25 books on Jazz improvisation including the Polytonal Rhythm Series” Read

The jam session was his very last.  My husband picked his dad up and put him to bed that night.  His condition worsened and Hospice was called to come back and evaluate.

The very kind Hospice nurse took me aside and asked me if there was anybody that my father in law could possibly be waiting for.  I knew exactly what she meant.  I let her know that it could possibly be his grandchildren.

We had kept our children very informed of their grandfather’s condition and they were on standby ready to book flights at a moments notice.

It was very difficult to tell them exactly when to get on the plane since my father in law’s health had wavered over the time we were there.

My husband and I had prepared for the possibility that his dad could pass very quickly and that our children might not be able to arrive in time to see their grandfather in person one last time.

We had all of our children, cousins and friends connected on Google Hangouts in the event we needed to have an emergency meeting.

We gathered some family members to my in law’s home, connected with our children on Google Hangout and had family time with my father in law.

My father in law was in a semi conscious state so we brought my husband’s tablet to his bedside.  We placed the tablet right beside him as our children spoke to him loving words, entertained him wearing crazy hats and mustaches, shared anecdotes of times gone by and impersonated their grandfather which seemed to rally him to a moment of consciousness.  His mouth formed the words “I Love You” to his grandchildren.  Time stopped for all of us in the room and on Google Hangouts.  Our children all told their grandfather how much they loved him and how much he meant to them all of their lives.  They told him to rest and he will always be alive in their hearts.  They blew kisses to him as he tried so very hard to open his eyes one last time to say goodbye.

My father in law passed nine hours later ( May 3rd, 2013) peacefully surrounded by his devoted wife Laura, my husband, my sister in law and myself.

My husband and I are so grateful for the technology that enabled us to work remotely so we had the ability to stay with my father in law in his last several weeks of life.

We are very grateful for Google Hangouts that gave our children the ability to visit with their grandfather and spend time with him in his last hours of life.

What is Google Hangouts:

If you have never used Google Hangouts, it’s a very powerful messaging tool.

Hangouts lets you send messages, emoji, photos, and start video calls with your friends and family. You can start a Hangout from Gmail, Google+, your Android or iOS device, or with the Chrome extension.e.

It’s also a powerful video capturing tool.

You can turn any Hangout into a live video call with up to 10 people. Then turn that video call into a recording and make it publicly available on Google+ or your YouTube channel.

You can even share your screen with the audience if you need to demonstrate any of your products or services.

Pro tip: If you share the video on YouTube, you can download the mp4 file of the recording. This makes it easy for you to do some light editing or add open/end slates to your video.

You can then re-upload the edited video onto another YouTube channel or the same one and use that video to share with your customers.



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