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'Inspiring' to the end

March 06, 2009

Re "Waiting for death, alone and unafraid," Column One, Feb. 28

I was fortunate enough to have been a student of Edwin Shneidman in the mid-1980s.

I was a UCLA student who enrolled in his one-time seminar about Herman Melville.

It was a serious chore walking the breadth of the campus in 10 minutes to reach the small hospital conference room where the class was taught. Although I would arrive winded and sweaty, I was rewarded with three hours of Shneidman's musings on literature and life. Every friend who has labored through "Moby-Dick" on my recommendation has him to thank.

It was a wonderful class at a time when my mind was hungry not just for words but wisdom. He supplied both in abundance. Even now, some 25 years later, it remains a vivid, rewarding memory. Thank you, Dr. Shneidman.

Steve Sosa

Los Angeles

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Shneidman should add "inspiring" to his epitaph. Thomas Curwen's article made me feel so much more alive. I am encouraged when I read about people who have found happiness and fulfillment in reality alone. I hope Shneidman finds continuing joy in the time he has left.

Jim Johnson

Hemet

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