When Anne McCaffrey died, I lost — in fact, we all lost — a kind, generous and undemanding friend, and it took some of the holiday spirit out of the Christmas-New Years time.
It also led me to think about the general question of death, as presented in the cases of three old friends. Annie died of a massive stroke as she was being helped into her wheelchair; it was over at once. Jack Williamson died after a period of increasing failures of his bodily organs. These had the effect of making his memory less sure and his response time increasingly slowed, until he was almost incapable of conversation. Isaac Asimov, as I understand it, was physically failing but quite aware of what was going on almost to the very end.
There are, of course, many other ways of dying, most of which are a good deal worse than any of these. But if your time came tomorrow and you had your choice of these three ways of doing it, Annie’s, Jack’s or Isaac’s, which would you pick, and why?