What they don't tell you, growing up, is that there are some things you'll face that really do change everything. The death of a parent is one of them.
It's not death – and in particular, my father's death -- that bothered me. It's the somewhere between living and dying where Dad was stuck that made me furious. How could this happen to him? Why couldn't I have done something to prevent this travesty? How can I help my father to make a choice between living a half-life and dying -- and truly being at peace?
In the end I'm not sure he made a choice: his body failed, and he could neither fight his way back to health, or to gracefully accept that he's at the end of life and let go. But I'm sure that he's now at peace, however tortured the path was to get there.