There was something surprising about the death of the talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh in February. Not, of course, the fact that it happened. Everyone had known for over a year that he was suffering from Stage Four lung cancer, living on borrowed time, condition incurable. Limbaugh had said so himself on the air, and although he gratefully acknowledged his listeners’ prayers when they called in to his show, and continued to apply himself to his work with the usual intensity, he tacitly discouraged any talk of miraculous healings. As he liked to insist, he was the “mayor of Realville” and thought it pointless to deny that he was living with an impending expiration date, although he was, as he often said, hoping for extra innings.

Nor, for longtime listeners, was it surprising to hear him express, with simple eloquence, his boundless gratitude for the life he’d been...


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