As I walked the hospice doctor to the front door, a question burned inside. Dad was entering the final phase of his life, and he’d recently announced he planned to walk again. Since he hadn’t moved his legs in over seven years, I suffered over the impossibility of it.

“Doctor, I worry about my father,” I began. “He’s so overly optimistic all the time. I feel he lives in a constant state of denial.”

Studying me carefully, the kind man smiled. “No, you obviously don’t understand. […]