The younger Peshkin, 48, studies the biology of aging at Harvard Medical School in Boston. A broad-shouldered man with a twinkle always lurking in his brown eyes, Peshkin has been obsessed with aging since childhood because he worried that his father — then as old as other kids’ grandparents — would soon pass away.

“How funny it is,” Peshkin said, “that I had to be super worried he was going to die when I was 10. And here I am almost 50, and he’s still around.”

Yes, he understands that his father is old and unlikely to recover. But no, he isn’t ready to stop aggressive medical care, Peshkin has told the chaplain at the Catholic hospital that treated his father, and at the Jewish nursing home where Miron now lies in a world mostly his own.

So every day Peshkin drives to the nursing home to stroke his father’s head, stretch his arms, talk to him, and check in with caregivers.

And Peshkin continues to struggle with the question that has haunted him since childhood: Why must his father die?

“It just didn’t make sense the whole idea that you have to get old, your parents, your loved ones have to get old and die,” Peshkin said. “It just made absolutely no sense to me and it still doesn’t.”

Read more on STAT.