Building the Coffin

20130915_1971005637__MG_2263Deciding to build one’s own coffin is decidedly unusual, but, with Peter Warren’s help, I did it. The project would have forever rested in obscurity had I not written a short piece about the experience and had the gumption to submit it to The New York Times. It’s publication generated a response far beyond anything that I had anticipated: letters, emails, radio interviews, and two film documentaries. My fifteen minutes.

I hope that my responses to all this attention were coherent enough to keep it all in perspective. Yes, Peter and I did build a beautiful wooden box of proper dimensions for body and crematorium. At least that was our initial intent, and this sequence of images takes you through the construction. I still look at the transformation of the old, dirty wood to finished product with pride and amazement. But I also hope that the images show something more profound–the love that developed between two friends as they committed themselves to producing something meaningful and which eventually surpassed the significance of anything constructed from wood.

See the Building the Coffin photo gallery.

One Response to Building the Coffin

  1. amy says:

    I was fortunate enough to rotate with Dr. Piehler as a medical student and still remember the experience fondly. His kindness and respect towards his patients from all walks of life influences me to this day. What a blessing he is to his patients. students, family, and now many others with these beautiful thoughts and amazing perspective.

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