When it came time for the conversation about whether Carmelo Marchese should go to the hospital, his daughter didn’t tell him about her fears — that he’d be taken away in an ambulance and never see his family again. She didn’t mention the images on the news, of black body bags piling up outside hospitals, nor the images in her mind, of her father in one of those bags.
She just told him what she thought was most necessary. That northern Italy’s hospitals were overloaded. That a 93-year-old, weakened already with fever, wouldn’t be prioritized. That his odds might be no worse at home.
“You would end up in who-knows-what tiny hospital room,” Emanuela Marchese, 59, remembers telling him.
She looks back on that conversation as the closest thing to a decisive moment about how Carmelo Marchese would die — in his bedroom, next to an oxygen canister, his crying daughter and grandson steps away.