Each day, Dad grew weaker. His time in the psych ward had left him bedridden, and he developed pneumonia. Finally, the doctor pulled us aside and said it was time to let him go. He suggested that if we were willing to forgo life support, such as a feeding tube, he would refer Dad to hospice care.
After a family meeting that was surprisingly unemotional, we agreed that it would be right to allow Dad to finally find peace. When he arrived at the Good Samaritan Hospice in Cabot, Pa., the nurses believed he had two days to live. He wanted more—and, doting on him, they gave it. He started to speak. He smiled again and even laughed. It was an amazing experience, and I can't say enough about the magic these nurses do. Seven weeks later, he died in his sleep, as the sunshine crept in through his window and strains of "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra...That's an Irish Lullaby" played softly on the stereo. It was May 29, 2008. He was 88.