When We Die, Who Is Kind?

Good End-Of-Life Planning Is Crucial, But Just As Crucial Is Compassion

I am writing this piece as a middle-aged woman who recently lost her younger brother. We were “Catholic twins,” born 18 months apart in Kansas City. As kids, we fought. In high school, we played duets at weddings—my brother on violin, me on viola, the two of us strolling about the room. As teenagers, we made plans to leave home together.

I studied medicine at Howard University, and he got an MBA from General Motors Institute. My career moved me around the country. He settled in Detroit, then Oakland. Throughout it …