"There's something different about being told you’re dying when you’re 10 years old: You’re not a grown-up, but you’ve thought about what you’ll be like when you’re 30, when you’re old. You’re not a baby anymore — you know what cancer is. People start feeding you pills and poking you with needles. You make a bucket list your mother worries she won’t be able to help you complete. You want to get your ear pierced, but you can’t risk the infection. You know what sex is, but you’re told you’re not ready. You want to try new things, but you need permission first. You never lose hope for a miracle, because you’re still a kid, and kids aren’t supposed to die." Ethan Alexander Arbelo-Maldonado: Little Man and the Pursuit of Happiness [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 7, 2014 -
When the Bough Breaks.
"Children often can’t tell detectives what happened to them. But their injuries always tell a story. The essence of a child abuse investigation is determining the plausibility of an adult’s story, given the child’s condition. Could the child have sustained the injuries by falling off a bed, tumbling down stairs, or any number of accidents that parents routinely describe? Or does the story fail to account for the injuries?" A profile of Sergeant Brenda Nichols, the head of the Dallas Police Department’s Child Abuse Squad, and one of her cases. (SFW, but the article contains graphic descriptions of child abuse that some readers may find disturbing.)
posted by zarq
on Aug 2, 2014 -
Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America
(mirrored at Salon.com
Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Jul 11, 2014 -
All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.
"Now that aunt #6 was dead, we could be a hand. If we are a hand, my grandmother is the cupped palm at the center of her five remaining children. If we are a hand, my mother is the thumb, and the other fingers are her brothers and sisters.... Mamá is the thumb, and I am her fingernail.
posted by muddgirl
on Jul 1, 2014 -
“Hindus are, on average, richer and more educated than Muslims. But oddly, the child mortality rate for Hindus is much higher. All observable factors say Hindus should fare better, but they don't. Economists refer to this as the Muslim mortality puzzle. In a new study, researchers believe that they may have found a solution to the puzzle. And, surprisingly, the solution lies in a single factor – open defecation
.” [more inside]
posted by XMLicious
on Jun 5, 2014 -
Given word that he has a few months left to live, a man with lung cancer decides to throw a wake at the New Orleans jazz fest.
Everyone at the party wore nametags with brief descriptions of their backgrounds. The honoree of the night, Louis Misko, wore one that was, like the man himself, abrupt and unflinching:
"The Louis," said the message written in red marker. "Soon to be deceased."
Gaunt, but smiling, Misko circulated through the crowd, relishing conversation with his guests at Pascal's Manale restaurant, most of whom he expected never to see again. He was holding his own memorial, in advance of his death from lung cancer.
posted by mitschlag
on Apr 30, 2014 -
Post-operative Check: "It's okay that you don't remember me. My name is Shara, and I'm part of the surgical team. I'm checking to see how you're doing after your surgery. Do you know where you are right now?" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 18, 2014 -
A couple's final journey. "Chris MacLellan and Bernard Richard Schiffer never exchanged “for better or for worse” vows. As a gay couple, marriage wasn’t an option in Florida. Instead, they lived together and loved each other for 11 years.
posted by HuronBob
on Apr 17, 2014 -
The Murders at The Lake.
"In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 19, 2014 -
What do you get when your funeral director is a former women's magazine writer who describes herself as "a Kundalini-yoga-practicing Buddhist Presbyterian on the board of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue"? It's Amy Cunningham's blog The Inspired Funeral
, chronicling trends, products, history, music and ideas related to all sorts of grieving traditions. (From this NYT article
about boomers gravitating towards greener burials and funerals.) [more inside]
posted by Madamina
on Mar 13, 2014 -
is an animated, charming look at how mortality personalities learn to do what they do.
posted by mikurski
on Mar 8, 2014 -
The Ultimate End of Life Plan.
"...Torn, I called my mother's internist. 'I know your mother well enough, and I respect her,' he said. 'She doesn't want to risk a surgery that could leave her debilitated or bound for a nursing home. I think I would advise the same decision if it was my Mom.'
I called my mother and said, 'Are you sure? The surgeon said you could live to be 90.'
'I don't want to live to be 90,' she said.
'I'm going to miss you,' I said, weeping. 'You are not only my mother. You are my friend.'
That day I stopped pressuring my mother to live forever and began urging her doctors to do less rather than more. A generation of middle-aged sons and daughters are facing this dilemma, in an era when advanced medical technologies hold out the illusion that death can be perfectly controlled and timed."
posted by storybored
on Feb 3, 2014 -