Patricia Hayden Powell, the mother for whom I was named, died early one morning last October. As a middle-aged person and a physician, I can claim no surprise at the loss of an elderly parent. Many of my friends and contemporaries have recently faced the same loss, a natural consequence of the passage of time. As a bioethicist I have shepherded many families through discussions of impending loss and medical decision-making in the context of grief and uncertainty. I was in some ways better prepared than many other health care proxies. I was also a bewildered daughter, more like than unlike any other.
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