I was shocked when I heard the rattle in my father's chest and knew he didn't have much time. Shocked not because he was nearing death -- he'd been so sick for so long -- but shocked that my dad looked and sounded like all the other dying old men, the ones I had seen and heard in the wards when I was a medical student.
We all die, right? Some of us do it the long way, chipping away at life slowly until there is nothing left; others check out abruptly with a sudden heart attack or accident. Some of us do it when we are old and others do it when we are younger. It's them -- those younger people -- that get under my skin.