"After she passed, the chimps examined the body, inspecting Pansy’s mouth, pulling her arm and leaning their faces close to hers. Blossom sat by Pansy’s body through the night. And when she finally moved away to sleep in a different part of the enclosure, she did so fitfully, waking and repositioning herself dozens more times than was normal. For five days after Pansy’s death, none of the other chimps would sleep on the platform where she died."—
"Want to Understand Mortality? Look to the Chimps
", by Maggie Koerth-Baker
in the NYT [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Jun 25, 2013 -
'Loss is difficult at any time of life. It can be particularly difficult for teenagers, who are still navigating their way, sometimes clumsily, toward adulthood. They know they need help, but are sometimes reluctant to ask for it. And often, because of their youth, their loss may be the first death they have ever known.'
For a year, a reporter from the Cincinnati Enquirer sat in on meetings of a grief group at Archbishop Moeller high school, for boys who had lost a parent... and learned The Rules of Grieving
posted by zarq
on Jun 15, 2013 -
A New Theory of PTSD and Veterans: Moral Injury
But as clergy and good clinicians have listened to more stories like these, they have heard a new narrative, one that signals changes to the brain along with what in less spiritually challenged times might be called a shadow on the soul. It is the tale of disintegrating vets, but also of seemingly squared-away former soldiers and spit-shined generals shuttling between two worlds: ours, where thou shalt not kill is chiseled into everyday life, and another, where thou better kill, be killed, or suffer the shame of not trying. There is no more hellish commute. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on May 17, 2013 -
The Things They Leave Behind.
"When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Mar 15, 2013 -
COLBERT: I suppose fear is like a drug. A little bit isn’t that bad, but you can get addicted to the consumption and distribution of it. What’s evil is the purposeful distribution of fear. As Paul said when he was faced with the gom jabbar, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”
PLAYBOY: Did you just make a Dune reference?
COLBERT: I did! [laughs] If you’re injecting fear into other people, then you’re trying to kill their minds. You’re trying to get them to stop thinking.
A thoughtful interview with Stephen Colbert in Playboy
(NSFW ads)(Non-Playboy copy
posted by rewil
on Nov 14, 2012 -
The Burns Archive
is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing
subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery
this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through
with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 26, 2011 -
When writer Robin Romm's mother was dying of cancer, she started keeping a journal--writing from the trenches. At the time she had no idea it would become a book. The Mercy Papers (excerpt)
is a gut-wrenching, painfully honest, and deeply moving account of her mother's last three weeks. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic
on Mar 5, 2010 -
Children Full of Life
- grade 4 students in Kanazawa, Japan learn deep life lessons from their incredible teacher and from each other. I strongly recommend this as awesome, but one caveat: keep tissues handy. (5 parts, 40 minutes total, English)
posted by madamjujujive
on Jul 25, 2009 -
"Then I started stripping and cleaning. I told myself it would help sell the flat. How could anyone think of buying it? But I also imagined that if I cleaned long enough and hard enough, the dull patina of dried blood that seemed to cling to every surface would finally go. I hoped that if I emptied the flat of its objects, and pared back its contents to nothing, I would uncover the place that I grew up in, before Ivor was the old man, before he was a legend. I couldn’t find that place, and I didn’t think I would find it in the boxes and among the papers either." David Goldblatt traces his murdered father's life through unpaid bills and unopened letters.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland
on Jan 19, 2009 -
Dunn, Nicholas Ryan. August 5, 2007.
"Yesterday my son took his own life. He did not intend to. He did something thousands of people have and are doing, using drugs. Drugs they know nothing about. Drugs recommended and provided by friends or strangers that are not chemists that know what's in them or doctors that knew how much his body could take. My son Nick has devastated us … We also all hurt for a three year old little girl named Kylie Marie
who will grow up without her father … Those drugs do not discriminate by race, income, the status of you or of your family. These are those who care about you and those who you care about. Consider them, please! The pleasure is not worth the risks! Goodbye Nick, we love you, and will miss you."
posted by pardonyou?
on Aug 13, 2007 -
Memorial Day orators
will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
posted by geos
on May 28, 2007 -
Their task may be depressing, but the generosity of their work is inspiring and hopefully thereputic. The photographers who are working with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
provide their services on a volunteer basis to help families over come the grief of losing an infant.
If you're a professional photographer interested in being involved, they're seeking volunteers.
posted by blaneyphoto
on Jun 7, 2006 -
-- such a sweet-looking kid, the smile on the face of a future suicide. Sad
-- "If she only knew then how things would turn out…" Sad
-- "I chose to kill her." Sad
-- "You could see her personality break through the coma." Life is dukkha
, said the Buddha -- a Pali term that means something like "suffering" or "the incapability of satisfaction." (Or as Mick Jagger put it, "I can't get no...") Here's the tangible evidence
posted by digaman
on May 3, 2006 -
In 1833-34, Frederich Rückert
wrote 425 poems after two of his children died within 16 days of each other; seven decades later, Mahler set five of them
, or Songs on the Death of Children, has been recorded
by both male
singers, in both orchestral and piano-vocal arrangements. The song cycle is a powerful meditation on grief and loss, which is somewhat surprising since we think of the 18th, 19th, and even early 20th centuries as being a time when people -- especially young children
-- lived closer to death
and had a different relationship with grief than we do today
. Mahler, who was one of 14 children, eight of whom died in infancy and one of whom died at 12, had much personal experience to bring to the Kindertotenlieder
; indeed, just three years after the song cycle's completion, his own daughter
died of scarlet fever. But some musicians dismiss the idea that the music is premonitory, or indicative of Mahler's personal tragedy
, and posit instead that Mahler's intent was not to showcase his own grief but capture the intensity of Rückert's first-person text. Modern works on the topic of Kindertoten range from mixed media and text
, and even to modern stage works
. And there is, of course, music
-- the most famous contemporary work in this tradition might just be the Grammy-award winning song inspired by real-life
tragedy, Eric Clapton
's Tears in Heaven
posted by mothershock
on Apr 3, 2006 -
Good journey, Joop.
"Joop was our handsome goodhearted 'boerenfox' (farmer's fox terrier). For three good years, he lived with us in the small town of Paterswolde, The Netherlands.
We found Joop in 2002 in an animal shelter
in Zuidwolde. Joop was a canine supermodel."
The Dog Log
shows Joop's life
in pictures and his human's in words. Joop passed away August 8, 2005 from cancer and has quite a following on Flickr.com
. Being the owner of a 14-year-old dog, the display of support really touched me and the photos are beautiful.
posted by VelvetHellvis
on Aug 9, 2005 -
"Things just happen, he had decided;
they happen and they happen again, and anybody who tries to make sense out of it goes out of his mind."
For this reason, Tom Rath, the hero of Sloan Wilson's 1955 novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit,
decides not to "make sense" of the the atrocities to which he bears witness during World War II. Instead, he accepts that war is in itself irrational, and that he must simply forget its horrors before returning to civilian life. This New Yorker article
contrasts Wilson's 1950's stoicism with today's veneration of the grieving process and suggests that this change in attitude has led us to vastly underestimate our own capacity for coping with trauma. The author also draws some interesting parallels with a controversial study
in which victims of childhood sexual abuse were found to be no more likely than others to suffer from mental health problems as adults. Intriguing stuff, to say the least, and as I read it, I can't help but think of Johnny Cash's "The Man Who Couldn't Cry"
(Note: Having thankfully never been subjected to war or sexual abuse myself, I am in no way attempting to demean the anguish of those who have. Rather, I'm more interested in the idea that people are stronger than they give themselves credit for, and how different upbringings affect our experience of trauma.)
posted by idontlikewords
on Dec 28, 2004 -
Seven Deadly Sentiments
- Psychology Today explores seven "guilt-provoking, squirm-inducing, I'm-such-a-lousy-person thoughts... At worst, they remind us that we're not quite as nice as we'd like to believe we are. And at best, they may be able to help us understand the deeper reasons behind our wicked thoughts--and forgive ourselves our own trespasses." A long, but interesting read.
posted by Irontom
on Jan 12, 2004 -
Ways to heal.
I'm a long, long way from being OK, as are most others here in NYC, many of whom have lost far more than me. The one thing that has helped more than anything has been the people who have crawled out of the woodwork of my life. From the friends currently housing me, to a phone call from an expat friend living in China, to hearing an ex-girlfriend say "I love you," a month after it hit me that we would probably never speak again.
As a distraction, how about you? Who have you heard from that you never thought you'd see again? Old lovers? Former best friends? Long-lost cousins?
posted by Sinner
on Sep 12, 2001 -