I spoke to Fred several days before he died. He didn't want to be on hospice, didn't want to think about dying -- or to let me visit him in the hospital -- but he said he thought that he had danced his last dance. I was honored to have shared it with him -- asher hu bam.
Art Buchwald is living and dying in a Washington, D.C., hospice. If you don't know his story, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a very sad time for the 80-year-old Jewish columnist. Just the opposite, Buchwald says. "I am," he announces, "having the time of my life."
The day my mother was transferred from a nursing home to a hospice, I raced from Baltimore to northeastern Pennsylvania. This 80-mph excursion into death -- my mother's death -- might rescue me from whatever boredom and tedium had enveloped me, but it would also plunge me into a realm where I didn't necessarily relish going. But go I went. For you see, there was no choice.
The truth was that the Los Angeles Jewish community was not ready to support a spiritual service for the dying.
Lunda Hoyle Gill sat in her spare room at a Westwood assisted-living center, the last stop on her remarkable life journey.
The artist once traveled to the remotest parts of the globe, racing to paint indigenous peoples before they disappeared. But that was before cancer ravaged her gut and Parkinson's disease crippled her fingers. Today, at 72, the artist can no longer paint. She can barely walk or hold a spoon.