DETROIT LAKES — Clayton Jensen was a beloved physician during his career, whether it was at a small-town practice in Valley City, N.D., delivering babies, or mentoring and training family practice doctors throughout the region.
His son, Paul Jensen, remembers that people loved his father's calm, comforting presence.
"His humor was exceptional," he said. "He was very gentle and kind and respectful of people."
But when dementia and Alzheimer's began to take their toll, Clayton and his family turned to hospice for end-of-life care at Ecumen in Detroit Lakes. It was there that Clayton met one of his caregivers, Angie Milner.
"I showed up at the nursing home and I told him I was there to see him," she recalls. "(We) had a really good visit."
Clayton was having a good day and soon the two began talking about their lives. Angie learned that her patient was a doctor who delivered babies in Valley City — the city she was born in.
Curious, she told Clayton that she was delivered by "Dr. Jensen."
"I asked if his name was on all the birth certificates and he said yes," she remembers.
Angie then went and got her birth certificate.
"I looked at it, and sure enough, it was his signature and his name that was on it," she said. "I brought it back inside and I gave it to him and he just stared at it ... tears starting rolling down his face."
Clayton confirmed that it was his signature.
"You are the doctor who delivered me," Angie remembers telling him. She says the moment still gives her goosebumps whenever she thinks of it.
"I can't even describe it ... my heart was so full, even after I left I had to pull over on the side of the road and just cried," she said. "Even now, thinking about it, I get goosebumps."
For Clayton's family, it was a confirmation of a life well-lived — someone the doctor helped bring into the world was now comforting him as he passed.
"I feel so blessed to have met him," Angie said. "I think about him all the time when I go to work ... it is such a small world."