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Happy Endings

Thank you for “Dying Is Easy; Comedy Is Hard” (fall 2018). I teach a course called “Preparing for Your Own Death” where we cover topics such as: What would be a good death? What are “green” alternatives to embalming or cremation? (My favorite is a papier-mâché clamshell that opens underwater to release your ashes.) Can you carry a dead body in your car? What happens in hospice?

At the start of the course, most people say they want to die in their sleep, but by the end, most would prefer to have a few months’ warning to settle potential regrets. My students find it a relief to talk openly about death. There are poignant aspects, such as when a couple read their obituaries to one another, but we also laugh—a lot!

—JAN BURGESS BAYS ’66, Clatskanie, Ore.