Several years ago a director-screenwriter friend said something about dying that struck an uneasy chord. We all imagine ourselves peacefully expiring in bed, slipping off into a cosmic eternity with our pets licking our hand and a family member or two sitting nearby and offering sips of tea. And yet most of us are probably going to die without a great deal of comfort or peace, probably uncomfortably and perhaps traumatically, not at home but in a hospital room at 3 am or on a roadside or maybe someplace worse.

Consider poor Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder, the young, high-energy, star-crossed lovers in the first two Superman movies. Reeve led a life of great courage and dignity, but Lord knows he didn’t have it easy, And Kidder, it’s been reported, died in Montana last May from her own hand — ” a result of a self-inflicted drug and alcohol overdose.” I’m very sorry.

Has there every been a cow and or a steer that died peacefully in a country meadow on a warm summer’s day?