… not a title, or description, that I usually subscribe to (I have some idea of what a ‘bad death’ might mean, but a good one feels much more difficult to qualify, although it seems to appears frequently, and often glibly, in both the lay and medical press), but this is an interesting piece that I recently came across in The New York Times:


The New York Times photographer Joshua Bright visited and photographed a dying man, John R. Hawkins, for more than a year. He seems to have decided on his topic first, and then sourced his subject through the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.

Hawkins was ‘being ushered’ from this life by his long-term friend, Robert Chodo Campbell, who is a Zen priest and co-founder of the Zen center.

At the outset, Bright states that he ‘went in search of both a photo project and a profound experience.’

He appears to have found both: ‘ We could use news of a good death. Not a tragic death or a famous death, just a good one, the kind that might happen to any of us if we are lucky.’ http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/03/30/opinion/sunday/20130330_EXPOSURES-SS.html?ref=sunday#1

Check out the slide show particularly. I remain unsure as to what constitutes a ‘good death’, but I was moved by the images and the intimacy shared.
I defer to Kafka: ‘The meaning of life is that it stops.’ We surround ourselves with living, often ignoring the fact that dying is an intrinsic and inevitable part of it all.
Thus I welcome a redress of the imbalance with portrayals of death and dying as delivered by Bright, but even more so, I applaud John R. Hawkins’ generosity and sharing.