Right before Yom Kippur, my husband and I put a deposit on two burial plots. We paid with a credit card (we need the frequent flyer miles for cargo) and received word that our eternal real estate in Israel was in process. In case our prayers were not effective, we had an alternative.

We are both young and healthy, but you never know. Having spent the better part of two years researching and writing about the end of life, I learned the importance of crafting burial plans early. It’s one less thing for the kids to fight about, and knowing where you are going when you have nowhere else to go brings some measure of comfort.

I apparently did not fill out the form correctly.

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THOMAS ARNOLD KEMP was executed this past April through lethal injection. He stole $200 from a college student in Tucson in 1992 and then murdered him. It took seven minutes for Mr. Kemp to die. His last words: “I regret nothing.” 


I have been thinking about Mr. Kemp and death and regret, perhaps obsessively. Regret incites us to review and reflect on our actions; when we miss the mark, regret  generates disappointment and grief. Regret would not have kept Mr. Kemp alive. But it might have kept him decent.

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