Grieving openly serves the important function of assuring ourselves and others that it is normal, and temporary, and part of a full and authentic life. Only suppressed grief threatens one's mental health.
How do we get doctors to honor our wishes at the end of life? Most recommend preparing an advance directive, and I'm no exception. These documents are not infallible, but they are the best things we've got going for us when we can't speak for ourselves.
Eighteen years ago, Dr. Peter Goodwin led the fight to grant Oregonians the right to end-of-life choice. Terminally ill with a rare, fatal brain disease with no known cure, Peter exercised the right to a peaceful death he helped secure.
In November, Dr. Ken Murray published a blog called "How Doctors Die." It's been reverberating through the Web ever since, prompting a continuous stream of comments and inspiring others to offer their own essays and input.