The Sanitizing of Death

I recently finished reading¬†Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,¬†which is an excellent read for those of you who are interested in a glimpse into the modern funeral industry, and into alternative approaches to death and dying. It’s not a polemic, nor is it a pat panacea, but rather an acknowledgement of the fact that death and […]

Honesty in eulogy

In death, it seems that people become saintly, with reputations for perfection that quickly calcify around them. In the hours and days following their last breaths, they’re turned into airbrushed, hyperreal yet also fictional versions of themselves in the workrooms of funeral homes, but also in the imagination. Instead of acknowledging people as they are, […]

What Should Hospice Look Like?

I visited a friend in hospital recently. She’s nearing the end of her life, and she’s been having an ongoing negotiation with the hospital staff about what that’s going to look like — she recognises that she’s dying and wants to do so relatively peacefully, preferably in the comforts of her own home. Some of […]

Complicated Grief or Unacceptable Grief?

In recent years, there’s been much discussion about the concept of ‘complicated grief’ and whether it should be viewed as a psychiatric disorder, which has brought the idea into the popular consciousness. As explored in a psychiatric and psychological sense, it refers to extreme symptoms like numbness, difficulty with daily tasks, pining, agitation, depression, and […]