Though Lisa and Patrick were hopeful after his diagnosis, she says they were also realistic. "We were what we called optimist realists," she says. "We knew there wasn't a cure. But you know what? There's a reason why somebody's always the first, and there will be a first at some point."

In his final days, Patrick was peaceful and free from pain, Lisa says. "There's a strange, difficult transition from trying to treat and make better to trying to make comfortable," she says. "His heart [was] so strong—metaphorically and literally. But it was only so long that his heart was going to keep going."

Lisa says on the day Patrick died, she had anticipated that it would be their last day together. "I was afraid to leave his side," she says. "But once it was time to go, he was making that journey. He was on his way."


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