I graduated from business school four months after my mother died. Shortly before graduation weekend, an out-of-town friend called me and said that she wanted to come to my graduation. She insisted that I not feel pressured to include her in any pre-planned activities; she just wanted to be there, watch me graduate, and give me a hug afterward.

What does a good death look like? Photographer Joshua Bright offers one answer to this question with a series of photographs chronicling the end-of-life and death of John Hawkins, a New York City resident, and his relationship with his friend and Zen Buddhist priest Robert Chodo Campbell.

For a blog series called A Matter of Life and Death, I admit that I’ve probably talked a lot more about the latter. (Sorry.)

“Can she keep this up?” you might be wondering. “This whole writing-about-death-all-the-time thing?” And the answer is, yes—with the help of a sense of humor.

After my mom’s cancer diagnosis, lots of things changed: schedules, diets, and priorities, to name a few. But one of the most difficult things to get used to was the identity crisis that ensued. Because when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she was quickly stripped of her sense of self. It felt like whoever she was—whatever made her her—was swallowed up by a new identity: Patient.

After David S. Kime Jr.'s funeral, as his family and friends made their way to the cemetery, they made a pit stop in Kime's name: to a Burger King drive-through. Kime, a WWII veteran who died at age 88 on January 20 in York, PA, was a long-time fan of the Whopper Jr., and his family chose to honor him by purchasing his favorite sandwich.