"And then he utters the words. The words that are responsible for nothing less than emotional, spiritual and psychological violence: Everything happens for a reason. That this was something that had to happen in order for her to grow. That's the kind of bullshit that destroys lives. And it is categorically untrue. "
Palliative care practitioner BJ Miller on redesigning our relationship with death. BJ Miller and the Zen Hospice Project previously.
"While people have long used online outlets to grieve loved ones and public figures, the intense, intimate mourning rituals for kids like Ryan are something else entirely. And while these rituals create a much-needed space for mourning in a culture that treats grief like it's contagious, not everyone wants their child subjected to such celebrity. But once begun, it's hard to stop."
"Since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of monsters. I’d put garlic on my window ledge to ward off vampires and sage in the corners to protect me from zombies. Even as a young adult I lay on my ratty futon surrounded by library books terrified someone or something would break into my apartment. After my daughter was born, my fear escalated. I’d check the front door several times a day to make sure the deadbolt was secure and the chain latched. At night I lay in the dark, my mind sending out waves of panic."
Dispatches from Trauma Island. An essay by author Katie Coyle regarding the loss of her daughter, who was stillborn in May.
The New Normal: Pieces of Grief, by Stephanie Wittels Wachs, sister of Parks and Recreation's co-executive producer Harris Wittels, who passed away in February.
"Grief porn enters the Facebook era" "And, like regular pornography, the internet has transformed it. Freed from the already relaxed constraints of tabloid journalism, grief porn is no longer obligated to fake newsworthiness or importance. You don't need to die in a particularly tragic way; your death doesn't need to be the occasion for punishment or law-enactment. You just need to have produced consumable, shareable content before your untimely death. Rather than a news angle allowing a writer to smuggle grief porn into a paper, a grief-porn angle allows a content creator to smuggle a shareable unit onto Facebook." An interesting essay by Kelly Conaboy, ironically on Gawker.
William Hughes writes movingly about the death of his partner and how it has changed how he reacts to the portrayal of death and resurrection in media.
On July 2, 2014, Hannah Richell's husband Matt was killed in a surfing accident at Bronte beach. [more inside]
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]
"Why am I not constantly grieving?" The wonderful Roger Angell on love, loss, sex, death, time, and the view from age 94.
"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]
'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.
She is gone. A Valentines story of love and loss.
How a Man Can Grieve for a Deceased Friend -- from The Art of Manliness; an ongoing chronicle of masculinity in the 21st Century.
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]
Sometimes thought to be a bizarre Victorian custom, photographing corpses has been and continues to be an important, if not recognized, occurrence in American life. [more inside]
Carla's final video blog from heaven - shown publicly for the first time at Carla Zilbersmith's funeral after her death from ALS. [more inside]
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)
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.
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.
"MyLastEMial.com is a unique online service, which allows you to leave messages for those you care about – to be emailed after your death." Oh. My. God.
via - would you believe? - Yahoo's Daily Links
via - would you believe? - Yahoo's Daily Links
The terrible business of bearing bad tidings: “You never know how someone will react ... Some people will start screaming when they see you coming. They just know something is seriously wrong when a uniformed soldier comes to their door.” The military, law enforcement, and even MADD have written protocols for contacting the next of kin when someone dies. But doctors are pretty vague about how to handle the conversation, which is odd, considering that 70% of American deaths occur in hospitals.
Three months after Chris Kempa was struck and killed by a truck, the city of Livonia, Mich., has ordered his family and friends to stop memorializing him at the site (from Kempa.Com, run by his older brother Adam).