The Good Death?

Earlier today I read this article from the New York Times Magazine talking about society’s efforts to arrive at the “good death”. As I sat down to write about the article I happened to turn on the radio and heard the news that Peter Jennings had died.
There’s a strong temptation to write my memories of Jennings and all the news brought to me through his coverage. Although journalism isn’t my profession today, Jennings and ABC news of the late 1980’s was one of the reasons I did get my degree in journalism.
That said today was also my mom’s birthday. In a phone call with my mom to wish her a happy birthday, she mentioned to me that an uncle of hers died.
All the discussion of death and the magazine article remind me of a book idea I kick around in my head from time to time. When “famous” peple die we have such an intense discussion about them and this societal sadness that strikes me as somewhat not quite real.
What about the others who died today or any other day for that matter? The media picks the “fortunate” few, and celebrates their accomplishments with what seems to be an undo importance.
I toy with the idea of a book titled “They Died Too”. The book would pick 15-20 people who died on the same day as someone who’s death was given strong media publicity and focus on the impact those people had in their own circles of influence.
Obviously everyone can not be famous and the theathers to which each of us play out our own lives are of differing sizes but I think it is important to keep in mind that we are all important to those in our world. The media-driven culture we have today tends to make it seem like the accomplishments of a select few are what matter.
We’d do well to step back, look around our immediate environment a bit more and remember that whether it is the person at the neighborhood store or the person running the largest corporation, the contributions we each make to the world are worth celebrating. Life is a precious gift and many do wonderful things with this treasure.