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“It’s per­fect!” Once upon a time, those words were mu­sic to your ears—but then you grew up. You learned that a made bed didn’t make the man, good enough gen­er­ally was, and as in the new book “Bobby Won­der­ful” by Bob Mor­ris, some­times it’s bet­ter to ig­nore per­fec­tion and fo­cus on a life—or lives—well-lived.

As Bob Mor­ris watches his hus­band, Ira, strug­gle with his mother’s ag­ing is­sues, Mor­ris un­der­stands the emo­tions Ira’s go­ing through. Car­ing for an el­derly par­ent “has be­come the new nor­mal,” Mor­ris says, and he should know: he helped tend to his own par­ents at the ends of their lives.

As his mother lay dy­ing first, Mor­ris re­mem­bered how, when he was a child, she en­cour­aged him to see beauty in the world around him. She loved mu­sic and was a “good mother” whose messy, painful death brought out the worst in Mor­ris and his brother. Oh, how they fought, though her pass­ing also showed Mor­ris how much he truly loved and ad­mired his older sib­ling.

At the fu­neral, Mor­ris only wanted to talk about his mother, but “no­body seems to know how.”

Not long af­ter­ward, on a “sunny sum­mer Mon­day,” Mor­ris’ fa­ther tried to com­mit sui­cide by over­dos­ing on sleep­ing pills. Though he’d seemed to heal well from his wife’s ill­ness and death, at age eighty-some­thing, he’d plunged back into the dat­ing scene—his “quiet de­spair about his fail­ing heart,” pre­vi­ously un­no­ticed, shook the Mor­ris broth­ers to their cores. Things grew worse, and as their fa­ther be­gan to des­per­ately “hound” Mor­ris for pills to end his life, Mor­ris looked for ways to en­hance his fa­ther’s days. But time was run­ning out and they both knew it.

Dur­ing his last hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, the el­der Mor­ris told his sons that he wanted to be taken off life sup­port. It was a wish they let him have.

“Car­ing for your par­ents is an op­por­tu­nity,” says Mor­ris. But “We have no par­ents now, no­body to love us in the way they did ... and we also have no wor­ries now, no con­cerns for a suf­fer­ing so close that it of­ten felt

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