02/28/2009 02:36 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

A Good Death

Dying so as to be as little a pain in the ass to your family as possible
- Henry A. Murray

Death becomes you...and me...and everyone, including my mentor Dr. Edwin Shneidman, pioneer in the study of suicide, creator of the field of suicidology and the mentee and fellow Melville Scholar of Henry A. Murray.

Ed's front page 2/28/09 Los Angeles Times story Waiting for death, alone and unafraid is an unflinching look at and confrontation of the ultimate challege and if you're up to the task, a chance for you to stop and smell the fnality of your life and how best to approach it.

It also begs the ethical question of: "Whether we should be prolonging life through technological advances if we are not equally dedicated to helping people to live a life worth loving."

What are you doing now to give your final years the quality and dignity that will make you want to live vs. finishing out your life in quiet years of desperation?

Keep the following facts (from another of my teachers, Milton Greenblatt, M.D.) in mind as you do that planning:

First we are children to our parents;
then parents to our children;
then parents to our parents;
then children to our children.