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Make mine a jazz funeral

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In early 20th century New Orleans when someone died, members of the community would parade their coffin through the streets to the accompaniment of a small ensemble of supremely talented, improvational musicians in a jazz funeral. What a way to go, eh? But that was after death, not in the midst of dying -- a subject that's getting a lot of media attention lately. No one wants to die alone and in pain, but that kind of ending seems to be the last page of many American's lives. Since we can't cure all diseases yet, perhaps we should be held responsible for ensuring that the end of someone's life is as comfortable as possible. I can only imagine the difference a clear head and a best friend would make as I approached the end of my life. And hey, give me a jazz funeral.

Paige Costigh
Server
Neighborhood: Downtown

Have you given much thought to how you would like to die if faced with a life-threatening illness? I already have been. I had cancer. I'd like to die peacefully, like anyone. Without pain. When it got to the point when I thought I was going to die, I wasn't really afraid of death. I was more afraid for the people who loved me.

Did you discuss options with your family? Yeah, I'd probably want to be cremated like my dad.

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What about legal arrangements? I do have a living will. I did that when I was faced with death.

Why do you think the subject of death is being so widely discussed right now? Maybe there's more diseases, and more people faced with it. And the world's getting scarier.

Matthew Smyth
Server
Neighborhood: West Side

Have you given much thought to how you would like to die if faced with a life-threatening illness? Peacefully. And as painless as possible.

Have you discussed options with your family? Yes.

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Have you made any legal arrangements? A living will? No, I haven't. I'm a donor on my driver's license.

Why do you think the subject of death is being so widely discussed right now? Everybody dies. It's a big part of the human race, I guess.

Brittany Anderson
Barista, student
Neighborhood: Downtown

Have you given much thought to how you would like to die if faced with a life-threatening illness? Actually, I have.

Have you discussed options with your family? I have in the sense that I would like to be an organ donor, if that would be possible, and that I'd like to be with them.

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Have you made any legal arrangements? A living will? Nope. I don't have any thing to give. You can have my school bill!

Why do you think the subject of death is being so widely discussed right now? I think because it's common, but it's less frequent at younger ages; it's something that people have more time to think about. It becomes more of a pressing issue [because] people have more leisure time.

Girungi Grogan
Server Neighborhood: North End

Have you given much thought to how you would like to die if faced with a life-threatening illness? Probably quickly.

Have you discussed options with your family? Actually no, not really.

Have you made any legal arrangements? A living will? No.

Why do you think the subject of death is being so widely discussed at this time? It's going to happen to everybody; you might as well talk about it now.

-- Matt Fullen

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