The Dead of Winter: Planning the Good Death

Planning the Good Death


Deborah Carr, Rutgers University, Professor of Sociology

Angelika Cedzich, DePaul University, Associate Professor of Religious Studies

Dr. Julie Goldstein, Medical Director, Clinical Ethics and Palliative Medicine,Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

As a culture we tend to rage against the dying of the light, seeing a concept such as “the good death”as oxymoronic. Socrates tells us, however, that true lovers of wisdom must spend their whole livespreparing to die, properly. We thus come together across disciplines to ask what it means to preparefor death and what role such preparation might play in making that death a good death. From thepragmatic realities of creating an advanced directive and living will, to the fascinating (and, perhaps, troubling) statistics concerning how diff erent classes, races, and ethnic groups in the U.S. go about such planning, to the Zen monk tradition of practicing one’s entire life to be able to write a final poem on one’s deathbed, we will attempt to think together about what it could mean to confront the dying of the light with something other than mournful rage.

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