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People die like they live. Of course, some diseases and some treatments can change personalities, but barring that, people seem to face death like they face life.

On the Saturday before Easter, I anxiously made my way to the apparent deathbed of Art, a beloved, 90-year-old brother in Christ. He has lived with great thanksgiving in the midst of decaying health for a very long time. This, following decades as a middle school administrator, clearly showed him to be made of special stuff.

Following the late-night shuttling now so common in the jigsaw of medical care, I eventually found him in a different and remote rehab hospital. As I turned from the rather depressing hallway into his room, Art was alone, lying askew on the bed, uncovered, his breathing strained.

Art smiled. His eyes, now heavy, still twinkled. "Thank you so much for coming," he sighed. I kissed his forehead as I whispered how glad I was to be with him. I said, "Art, it seems like this is pretty close to the end, ...

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