Jazz funerals offer an intriguing look into another way of commemorating death and acknowledging community grief.
Those who enjoy mocking people for grieving celebrities are small minded and mean spirited, but they’re also straight up wrong. There’s more than one kind of attachment to the dead.
Our approach to death and dying is fundamentally, frustratingly broken. That’s why death doulas, with their capacity to change the way we relate to death, are so important to me.
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 […]
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, […]
There is a point in life at which paths diverge and both of you see different things, follow different trails, turn into different people for a time, meeting up now and again to tell each other what you saw and walk together again for a while. Both sometimes, you go on and someone else stops, […]
A friend of mine died late last year. I’m not telling you this because I want your expressions of sympathy, but more as a statement of fact: She was alive, and now she is dead. She died because she had cancer and it metastasized and she chose to accept her death, spending her last few […]
Death and dying in US culture are never something I will stop being interested in, until, of course, I’m dead myself. I can’t track the roots of my fascination — certainly I was around many dying people in my youth, and I lost many people as a child and young adult. The people around me […]
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 […]
In a world where religious faith feels dominant — where most people subscribe on some level to a belief that there is a higher power, to varying degrees of intensity and seriousness from cafeteria Catholics to devout Muslims to casual Jews, being a nonbeliever can be incredibly isolating. Especially when people make ignorant, peculiar, and […]