Humorist Art Buchwald passed away from kidney failure at age 81.
The story of his death has become quite a tale. Nearly a year ago, Buchwald was told he’d have to undergo routine kidney dialysis treatments to stay alive. He didn’t want the dialysis, so he moved himself into a hospice and readied himself — however one does that — for the final chapter.
There was just one problem: those last pages wouldn’t come. In fact, he not only held court with notable friends who came by to say their last farewells, he even took time to write a book about the dying process. It became clear that living in a hospice might not be necessary after all, so he left that facility and returned to his home. Doctors coouldn’t explain why he was still alive. Buchwald didn’t seem to mind.
He told reporters and fans that after he made the decision to die, he felt liberated; the stress of worrying about his condition was gone. Then when death didn’t come, he joked that he had to stop with the funeral plans, get a cell phone, and “start worrying about Bush again.”
His son summed it up nicely:
“The last year he had the opportunity for a victory lap and I think he was really grateful for it. He had an opportunity to write his book about his experience and he went out the way he wanted to go, on his own terms.”
When our own time is approaching, it seems to me that there’s not much more we could hope for.