Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Greatest Loss -- The Death of a Child

The Washington Post profiles Joyal Mulheron, "a collector of the worst kinds of stories. The ones no one wants to hear." Her baby daughter's death was devastating.

All the while she replayed the events surrounding her daughter’s life and death, mulling the circumstances that compounded the pain, and the kindnesses that offered slivers of relief. She thought often of the anonymous stranger who gave up a bed in the hospital sleep center so that she could rest for a few hours without being far from Eleanora. And she thought about the calls from the insurance company, asking when, precisely, they expected their daughter to die.

“Do you think she’s going to live for 10 days? Or do you think she’s going to live for more than 10 days? Because I have to fill out different paperwork,” Joyal remembers the insurance representative saying.

Joyal began applying her policy brain to the issue and found that parents who’ve lost children are a vastly understudied group. Yet the little research that has been done shows devastating results. “The National Academies of Science said in a report that child death is the most stressful [event] and enduring type of stress a person can experience,” she says. Other studies showed that losing a child results in increased likelihood of psychiatric hospitalization, cardiac problems and premature death.

Monday, December 4, 2017

High-Tech Suicide Machine Makes Death a Painless, Peaceful, Optimal Way to Go | Alternet

"The Sarco was developed by Nitschke’s organization, Exit International, which bills itself as an “aid-in-dying” organisation. The machine includes a base topped by a translucent chamber perfectly proportioned to comfortably fit a human which. After settling in the pod, the user will push a button and the chamber will start to “fill up with liquid nitrogen to bring the oxygen level down to about 5 percent.” Around the minute mark, the user will become unconscious, experiencing almost no pain, according to the Newsweek report. (The doctor describes the changes as akin to “an airplane cabin depressurizing.”) After death comes, which is fairly swift, the chamber can be used as a coffin. The base, just fyi, is reusable."

High-Tech Suicide Machine Makes Death a Painless, Peaceful, Optimal Way to Go | Alternet

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Readers share their most intense postmortem social media moments

 "In the internet age, it often seems that what is digital may never die. Even when our loved ones slip their mortal coil, their social media profiles soldier on. Though Facebook, Google, and other companies have developed protocols for shutting down the accounts of the dead, many if not most of us are still caught off guard. When my grandfather died, for example, “he” continued to contact me through his LinkedIn profile. In the days and weeks after his funeral, I got emails like, “[Your dead grandfather] wants to connect with you on LinkedIn!” and “[Your dead grandfather] congratulated you on your promotion!” Eventually, my grandmother admitted to using his account. She ultimately agreed to shut it down. I was in turn mortified, nauseated, and eventually resigned myself to mild amusement."

Readers shared their most intense postmortem social media moments.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Grief by Gwen Flowers

Grief by Gwen Flowers

I had my own notion of grief.

I thought it was the sad time

That followed the death of someone you love. And you had to push through it

To get to the other side.

But I'm learning there is no other side.

There is no pushing through.

But rather, There is absorption. Adjustment. Acceptance.

And grief is not something you complete,

But rather, you endure. Grief is not a task to finish

And move on, But an element of yourself- An alteration of your being. A new way of seeing. A new definition of self.

Healing Arts_Poetry by Gwen Flowers

Sunday, November 26, 2017

What a Home Funeral Is Really Like - True Story of Dying at Home

"[I]n recent years, Americans have become increasingly interested in alternative death practices, like home funerals, environmentally friendly burials, and liquid cremation, which dissolves human remains through a process called alkaline hydrolysis. A Seattle entity has been working on a plan to compost corpses and perhaps one day use the nutritive remains on trees and in gardens. These efforts are about a lot of things: environmental concerns, the right to keep commerce and strangers out of a sacred rite, and a long-standing Boomer interest in customizing everything, including their exits. But they're also part of a growing death positive movement that sees death as the natural order of things rather than a violation of that order."

What a Home Funeral Is Really Like - True Story of Dying at Home

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Celeste Headlee The Mistake I Made with My Grieving Friend

Celeste Headlee's new book We Need to Talk describes some of the things we say to try to show empathy but instead redirects a conversation in a way a person in pain does not want to hear.

"I had totally failed my friend. I had wanted to comfort her, and instead, I'd made her feel worse. At that point, I still felt she misunderstood me. I thought she was in a fragile state and had lashed out at me unfairly when I was only trying to help. But the truth is, she didn't misunderstand me at all. She understood what was happening perhaps better than I did. When she began to share her raw emotions, I felt uncomfortable. I didn't know what to say, so I defaulted to a subject with which I was comfortable: myself. I may have been trying to empathize, at least on a conscious level, but what I really did was draw focus away from her anguish and turn the attention to me. She wanted to talk to me about her father, to tell me about the kind of man he was, so I could fully appreciate the magnitude of her loss. Instead, I asked her to stop for a moment and listen to my story about my dad's tragic death."

Celeste Headlee The Mistake I Made with My Grieving Friend