The institutionalization of death and the dehumanization of the dying has become something of a cause célèbre in North American society. The jobs of caring for the aged and infirm traditionally assigned to families have in our society now passed largely into the hands of bureaucratized bodies; with that care also has passed the responsibility for preparation for death. And therein is a problem. It seems not so much that preparation for death is done badly as that it is hardly done at all.