All Of Us: Americans Talk About the Meaning of Death
collection edited by Patricia Anderson
selection from an interview with Marilee Longacre


A friend of mine had died and several of the people who knew him were sitting around together, in my kitchen. This was when I was still married and we had the house. The kids were playing in the other room and we were talking and my brother-in-law described how this guy he knew had died. He had spent the day fishing, which he loved, and had a great dinner and, you know, a romantic night with his wife. Then he just quietly died in his sleep.

My daughter, who was around six or seven, walked in just in time to hear someone say, "Wow, I wish I could die like that." And she said, very matter-of- factly, "Everyone gets their own." I said, "Their own what, honey?" thinking she was talking about the sandwiches we'd made for the kids or the cake we were going to have later. And she said. "Everyone gets their own death. You don't have to share."

Then she got her glass of apple juice off the counter and walked out of the room and we all just looked at each other with our mouths hanging open. It was one of those moments, you know? Where everyone's going, "Uhh-- yeah."

I'll never forget that. Never.

© Copyright Patricia Anderson, 1996. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this work may be reproduced of transmitted in any form of by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system now or hereafter invented, without permission in writing from the Publisher.