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My mother and father never married. This meant, as my mother explained, that I was his legal next of kin, responsible for making his medical decisions. This responsibility, already complex because of his lack of a living will, would prove to be even more fraught because he and I barely knew each other.

I had cried after learning about my father’s coma, and I had cried when I made the decision to let him go. Actually, what I did went well beyond crying; it was more like an exorcism of repressed emotions, my body shuddering. But the news of his recovery — practically a resurrection — rendered me emotionless. There was no sense of joy, no feeling of shock or relief, just a keen understanding of my own powerlessness.

Read more in the New York Times.

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