He just wasn't hungry. It was a magnificent triumph that night when I got him to eat some sautéed chicken and pasta along with his usual bowl of fruit cocktail, but that was a charade for my sake. The meals my aunt Kathy brought down every night were left untouched in the fridge. His previous diet of canned chop suey and ice-cream bars was beginning to look healthy to us; after all, some calories are better than none at all. But no amount of aromatic sausage meatballs or drippy sweet corn on the cob was going to change the fact that he didn't want to live anymore, which was why he didn't want to eat anymore, either. The facts added up, but that doesn't mean they made sense to me.

I'm still too young, I still have too many dreams and delusions, to be ready to die. I tell myself I'm not afraid of death because I trust the promise of the resurrection, but that is a pious lie. Death is the great terrifying beyond, and God (seriously considered) is pretty terrifying too, especially when I realize that death will someday remove the curtain of matter and sin and creation groaning in labor pains that buffer me from his countenance.

Meanwhile, as I live, death is nothing but the heartless divider, separating me from my departed loved ones. So I call it the enemy, the instigator of chaos, the void and abyss and predator and devourer and jaws of hell and eternal pit of nothingness without a single spark of redeeming value—death, the senseless plague.

But my grandpa was ready to die, and for sensible reasons. He was nearly 80 years old. He had lost his wife to malpractice three and a half years before, and his heart had never healed from the break. His health fled after my grandma, leaving arthritis and depression behind, which in turn ...

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