It has now been a week since the funeral, which was perfect - dignified, solemn yet beautiful.
The bagpiper played several songs - during the funeral itself and at the burial site. The choir sang our favorite songs and Richard sang "On Eagle's Wings" which was so befitting the service. I don't remember a lot of details, only that I survived 2 hours of visitation at the church the night before and another hour of visitation before the service. It was exhausting but worth it. I will never forget it.AC would have been so pleased. It turns out that I remember what everyone has had to say, maybe because unconsciously I knew I would want to remember all the wonderful memories people had of him so I could play them back in my head later, who knows. It was very encouraging to hear what an impact he had on the community and personally in people's lives.
I am learning an important lesson in all this grief - if you think your phone call or card won't matter, place the call or write the card anyway. Every single message is important. I have received the most beautiful cards and letters and am ashamed I haven't written more of them myself to others in times like this.
I am not ready to be online like I used to be and can only answer email at this time. The crying doesn't stop. My daughter and sister make me laugh, we share funny moments, and they don't hover when I need to cry. They understand that grieving is healthy, if I need to cry, I just do it, and I feel so much better afterwards. The night time is the worst, but in talking with other widows, this is natural.
I had to go to AC's office to clean out his personal stuff and did well until the last minute. That last look around to make sure I had gotten everything did me in. I also realized that his work colleagues had spent 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week with him constantly. In fact they probably saw him more than I did my whole married life to him. What a shock that realization was! They are nearly as upset as I am. That was a real eye opener.
I don't have any idea when I will get back to my art, I know it will be cathartic, but right now I am just concentrating on letting the tears fall where they may.
Thank you to everyone that has left phone messages, written cards and RAK's, and have been praying for me. It means the world to me. I have them all here on my desk, so I don't forget a single thank you, they are all so special.
Rapides Regional Medical Center's Obituary for AC:
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Charla Ducote, Vice President of Marketing, Public Relations and Business Development
Rapides Healthcare System
AC Buchanan, RHS President and CEO, dies at 56
Alexandria, LA - Rapides Healthcare System’s president and chief executive officer, A.C. Buchanan, died Tuesday at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center from complications due to leukemia. He was 56.
Buchanan served as president and chief executive officer at Rapides Regional Medical Center (RRMC) since March 1999. In 2002, he was named president and chief executive officer for the Rapides Healthcare System, which is comprised of RRMC, Avoyelles Hospital, Marksville, Oakdale Community Hospital, Oakdale, Savoy Medical Center, Mamou and Winn Parish Medical Center, Winnfield.
Buchanan’s leadership of Rapides Regional Medical Center and the Rapides Healthcare System were a testament to his long career in healthcare administration. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Texas Christian University, he was a medical platoon leader in the U.S. Army. Buchanan went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from TCU and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University.
He served as an administrator and CEO of six hospitals across Texas and Louisiana including a four-hospital system before taking the helm of Rapides in 1999. He also worked as a managed care consultant in Texas.
Buchanan’s years in central Louisiana anchored an extraordinary career in which he continued the tradition set by those before him, growing RRMC into one of the top hospitals in the state. Through his leadership and strong interest in women’s and children’s services, RRMC became home to the area’s largest neonatal intensive care unit and the area’s only pediatric intensive care unit. He also was instrumental in recruiting pediatric sub-specialists into our community providing access to these rare specialists for those in need.
Providing the highest quality patient care was Buchanan’s top priority. His respect for the nursing and ancillary staff was recognized by many. A.C. also understood the importance and value of an exemplary medical staff. Along with over 200 dedicated physicians already serving RRMC, one of his proudest accomplishments included the strong recruitment efforts of more than 40 new physicians to this community.
But the accomplishments didn’t stop there. Under Buchanan’s leadership RRMC achieved the top five percent rating nationally from Healthgrades in multiple specialties, for many years, was awarded as a Top 100 Hospital, as well as awarded the Louisiana Quality Award for hospital excellence. He developed and expanded many new services in cardiology, oncology, surgery and other ancillary areas. His most recent achievement was the completion and opening of the $50 million expansion accomplished earlier this year.
Buchanan was a dedicated member at his church, St. James Episcopal. He served in many capacities such as Senior Warden of Vestry (Executive Committee), Finance Committee, Property Committee, Investment Oversight Committee, Lector, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Eucharistic Visitor, Life in Christ Leader, Mission and Outreach, Christian Education Director, Diocesan Executive Committee and the Diocesan Council for The Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana. He was a recent graduate of the Education of Ministry program, which involved a four-year commitment in training.
Also, in the community, Buchanan recently served as Chairman of the LSUA Foundation Board, LSUA Chancellor Search Committee, Alexandria Museum of Art Board, Alexandria Business Foundation Board, Louisiana Hospital Association (LHA) Board, Cenla Advantage Partnership Board, LHA Central District, Past Chair, and the Canterbury House Board.
Buchanan previously served on the Chamber of Commerce Board, American Heart Association Heart Walk Chairperson, LHA Legislative Regulatory and Policy Council, the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board and the Region 6 Health-care Reform Consortium, and the Rapides Primary Health Care Center. He was a Leadership Giver of United Way, as well as involved with the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and a Leadership Central Louisiana graduate.
Visitation will be on Friday, August 8 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church Parish Hall. On Saturday, August 9 visitation at the church will be from 1 p.m. until the time of service at 2 p.m. Burial will be at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Pineville. Funeral arrangements are under the guidance of John Kramer & Son.
His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to support his nephew Scott Peacock who is running the Houston Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of AC, his “Uncle Buck.” Donations may be made at http://www.active.com/donate/llshoustonmarathon/4unclebuck or in the name of A.C. Buchanan at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202.