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My Dad’s Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

A moving saga of his father's passing from the cartoonist who just won a Pulitzer


Editor’s note: On April 18, Sacramento Bee cartoonist Jack Ohman won the Pulitzer Prize for “cartoons that convey wry, rueful perspectives through sophisticated style that combines bold line work with subtle colors and textures,” according to the Pulitzer website. Last fall, Next Avenue featured a series he created called, “The Care Package,” for PBSNewsHour.org, about his father’s decline and death. (It was not part of the work for which he won the Pulitzer.)

See the fifth and final installment of the series below.

For years, Ohman imagined the moments leading up to his father’s death a thousand times, but when he died, the tedium, alarm and pain were nothing like Ohman had envisioned.

The final three weeks revealed how broken and tired his father’s body was. Surgeons removed part of his father’s colon, and then his kidneys stopped working. Doctors sat Ohman down for an end-of-life discussion.

“This goes on thousands of times a day in the United States, and you never think you’re going to be involved in something like that,” he said.

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

My Dads Death Was Nothing Like I Imagined

By Jack Ohman
Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com.@jackohman
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