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The notion of contemplating mortality can be an abstract one for those of us not facing death. It can be waxed about in highly romanticized language, such as in a Wallace Stevens poem, or shown on television in the most inhuman ways, leaving us cold and unmoved.

While editing this week's show on facing and contemplating reality, I suggested we ground our interview with Dr. Ira Byock, a leading figure in palliative and hospice care, with other people's voices from StoryCorps. Annie and Danny PerasaTheir words, their stories, I hoped, would take Dr. Byock's clinical experiences and complement the doctor's ideas about dying well with the necessary pathos of those families facing death.

To close the hour, we included audio of Annie and Danny Perasa, a couple from Brooklyn, New York. They had been married for 27 years when Danny was diagnosed with a fast-spreading, painful form of terminal cancer. It's a love story illustrating that the process of dying is not only a medical event, but a personal one in which "eloquence, grace, and poetry" can still be found. Danny passed away on February 24, 2006.

As a result, we've heard from so many listeners asking to hear this audio again. Here's a wonderful animation extending the story you heard on the radio.

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14 Comments

Thank you for this post.  I loved it and it reminds me there are many "edwards" out there who love strong no matter what they are going through.  What beautiful memories they have. 

Wow. Amazing love story. 

...thank you

Hospice care allowed my wife helped us to say goodbye to each other in the same loving manner that this story presents. The women I hope to marry sent this story to me.She notes; "I came across the following storycorp telling that I thought you might appreciate.  I know that someday we will face this time again together and I hope to be as together with our thoughts as these 2 were." Love is a giving thing. Love is all around us even at time of loss.

how blessed to have a love like this

I heard this for the first time last night  on my way home from a late shift @ work. It has touched my heart and renewed my love for my husband of 23 yrs. Thank you for sharing it, Annie.

Lovely love story about the transcendence of deep love that knows no limits. Very touching to hear their voices. Great love is as young as it feels no matter how old the sweethearts are.

God is love.  Look no further for proof of the supernatural.  Even faith is not required to accept that the gift these two made to each other was divine.

You are so right and blessed to know this

That was beautiful, and is so very true....................................... My husband of 52 years passed from a terminal illness with only a few days notice, and with a loss for words, our messages were the hand holding and togetherness that we agreed to have with each other. He passed away so peacefully even though he was shocked to learn that death was upon us.

What a perfect post.  I lost my husband of 25 years 6 years ago.  This truly resonates with my heart.  True love and memories are such a wonderfully blessed beautiful things!  I know I treasure mine!  Thank you for the reminder!

I cried...again. It makes my heart just as happy as it does sad. Such an amazing love story.

Many of us would like to follow Annie behind her husband's casket to show our support for the hope of true love.

This is compelling, here, now, eternally radical. Something has entered my heart. What a gift these two souls have given. Thank you

apples