"He was real good to my dad. He would say, 'Ray, when it's time to graduate you let me know,'" Trent said. "Dad kind of looked at him, and [Foster] said, 'You know what I'm talking about, don't you, Ray? I don't want you to suffer.'"
Later, Foster asked Ernest Trent to appear in his DVD "Facing Your Future," a tool to help grieving families and those making end-of-life decisions.
Trent said he talked about his elderly father and his stepson, who died in 2000 after being stuck by a vehicle. He urged families to be realistic when it comes to end-of-life decisions and to not dwell on grief.
"When you feel you've done all you can do, it's time to let go," he said.
Raymond Trent died in 2011.
"By me sharing my experience with the doctor and my personal relationship with him, when Daddy did pass, it was easier on me," Ernest Trent said. "I had already relinquished the pain in myself and began healing before he passed away."
Trent said he was shocked by the Fosters' deaths and never would have suspected that Bruce Foster would commit suicide.
"You never got that indication whatsoever ... that he could do something like [it]," Trent said.
Officials at Thomas Memorial Hospital released a statement Tuesday about the Fosters' deaths.
"Dr. Foster volunteered at Thomas as the chair of the Ethics Committee for 19 years. During that time, he helped patients, families and health-care providers resolve medical decision conflicts with a balance of compassion and candor," said spokeswoman Paige Johnson. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends, his patients and his office staff during this most difficult time."
Foster's office was in South Charleston, near the hospital.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.