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As you wish

A lot of you out there in #TeamEric-land have asked me what I think about the sudden onset of Dad's illness. There has been a lot of philsophizing (I know that's not a word) about whether it's better for a loved one's death to be quick or drawn out.

I'm not sure I have an answer to that--and it's kind of funny to be thinking about at all, since we certainly can't choose the circumstances under which we leave this life. We lost Daniel's mom, Peggy, very suddenly and unexpectedly 16 years ago, but both my mom's parents (with whom I was very close) and her younger brother died of more drawn-out illnesses. The difference was that in two of those three instances, there was dementia, so even though there was time to prepare, there wasn't quite the mental capacity.

And although Dad and I were literally cycling up mountains a month before he was diagnosed with leukemia, the decision he has made has given us time (with all his mental faculties firmly in place) to prepare both practically and emotionally for the day when he is no longer with us. (It helps that, when they retired ten years ago, he and Mom got their affairs in order should something like this happen. Let that be a lesson to all of us.) So Mom and Dad have been meeting with their lawyer, financial adviser, insurance broker, and pastor to tie up all the loose ends. Dad even had me edit his obituary (and yes, it was exactly as surreal a task as it sounds).

My point is that, if my family and I HAD to be going through the loss of this beloved man (and don't get me wrong: we sorely wish we weren't), I don't think we'd choose to do it any other way. His choice has given us time to tell him all we need to say, and it has given him time to be sure we'll be all right after he's gone. Which, now that I think about it, is the best gift I have ever received.

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