Of course, a lot of such deaths are due to “movie disease” — that desirable ailment that leaves its victim fresh-faced (except perhaps a bit of dark Max Factor under the eyes and cheekbones, plus a dab of pale matte lipstick), coherent, and with plenty of time to say their perfect goodbyes to the people they love. But even when I know I’m being played, the tears I’m shedding are the tears of my old friend, catharsis, otherwise known as joy. The person on screen is dying exactly as I hope to die, borne up by the people of my heart, with minimal discomfort and maximum love.

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