Aging Our Way

Lessons for living, from age 85 and beyond

A Good Death

What would a good death look like?

A good death. What would it look like?

My students weighed in—outlining their ideal death scenarios including having family close-by, to emotional preparation and goodbyes, to a shot to the back of the head without warning. They were talking about the moment of death. But what about the dying process?

Hospice is in the business of making your fantasies possible (within reason) when you are dying.  With your help, they'll do it. including emphasizing comfort and peacefulness in a Hawaiian fantasy (complete with hot sand, audio of waves crashing, and coconut oil smells). This is the focus of the latest NYT piece on achieving a good death. So many of these scenarios involve bringing individuals back into nature (or bringing their deathbeds outside)—sleeping outside, hearing the sounds of nature, etc. A real commentary on a society that has strayed far from the natural world.

A blog on good death also attempts to take this ideal apart. It is worth thinking about.

Copyright Meika Loe

Meika Loe is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Colgate University. She is the author of Aging Our Way: Lessons for Living from 85 and Beyond

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Meika Loe, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Colgate University.

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