Posts Tagged ‘death’

At work, I took a question over the phone from one of our business advisors in the field, about a client wanting to become a funeral director. I asked the advisor if she was familiar with the Death Cafe, She was not.

“At a Death Cafe people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death. Our aim is to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

While Death Café is not a grief support group, it does offer a safe space to openly discuss thoughts, feelings, and experiences regarding dying and death. Death Cafés help us move toward being “a society that mindfully accepts dying and death as a part of everyday life.”

As I’ve mentioned, I had attended the first Death Cafe event in Albany in January 2018, and while I had not had a chance to go to subsequent talks, I have been following the local group on Facebook.

As my work colleague discovered, I’ve been fascinated by the issues surrounding death, going back to the passing of my paternal grandmother in 1964 and maternal great aunt in 1966.

I was also influenced by a now-infamous individual, Bill Cosby, who, in one of his routines, told us that when one dies, a person could be rigged up so that each time a mourner passes his open coffin he sits up and says, “Don’t I look like myself?” It’s funnier in context.

Cosby indirectly got me to read, when I was a young teenager, the landmark book The American Way of Death, “an exposé of abuses in the funeral home industry in the United States, written by Jessica Mitford and published in 1963.”

The next gathering of Death Cafe Albany will be at The Chapel at Albany Rural Cemetery on Saturday, September 29th from 1-2:30 pm. Please bring your own mug. Tea and cold water will be provided.

Here are some links from the Death Cafe Albany site on Facebook:

Photos of love and loss

What is the Meaning of Death? This Man Has Some Words to Share with You

Green funeral

Mom died early Friday the 13th….finally

The Funeral and Cemetery Law Blog

The Death Café phenomenon

And here are some grief-related resources that someone sent me to share:

Preparing for the Death of a Terminally-Ill Loved One: What to Expect, and How to Help the Entire Family Move Forward

Symptoms of Major Depression and Complicated Grief

Guidelines for Helping Grieving Children

Coping With The Stigma of Grieving an Overdose Death

Grief & the Loss of a Pet

Grief At Work: A Guide For Employees and Managers

For ABC Wednesday

After my mother died, I thought that the hospital people might want to check out her brain, dissect it for science or something. No, they were good.

The reason I thought about this was, according to the baby sister, the rapid change in my mother’s personality over the last six months of her life.

I came across this Daily Kos story about health care and politics, when this paragraph jumped out at me and pretty much slapped me across the face:

“Now, my uncle hasn’t been well for awhile. He’s suffered from an incredibly early onset of Pick’s Disease; which, if you’re not familiar with it, is like Alzheimer’s, but worse. Much worse. For instance, one of the ways you can differentiate between Pick’s Disease and Alzheimer’s is that with Pick’s people get incredibly hostile – argumentative, vulgar, violent – towards family members first and most aggressively, behavior they won’t exhibit or inflict on people they’re not familiar with.”

She wasn’t that young, 83 when she died, but she became really hostile to those she knew best. Yet she was seemingly a perfect angel to strangers, or those at her adult day care, e.g.

Of course, it doesn’t REALLY matter exactly what she died with – she died FROM the stroke. And she really doesn’t fit the full profile:

Pick’s disease is a rare condition that causes progressive and irreversible dementia. This disease is one of many types of dementias known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Frontotemporal dementia is the result of a brain condition known as frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). If you have dementia, your brain doesn’t function normally. As a result, you may have difficulty with language, behavior, thinking, judgment, and memory. Like patients with other types of dementia, you may experience drastic personality changes.”

Whatever that caused the changes, I feel badly for my sister and her daughter. And, I suppose my mother too, although who knows how self-aware she was about processing things.

Seven years since Mom died. Still sucks.

Occasionally, someone I do not know will email me and ask if I would promote something, usually based on something I had written on this blog some years earlier. Recently, Jennifer from SpiritFinder wrote in a message called Bereavement:

“Anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one knows how difficult that loss can be. For children, it can be even more difficult. Grasping the concept of mortality is tough enough for them.

“There are plenty of ways, however, to guide a child through the pain of losing someone or something special. Quite often it can be just as therapeutic for the adults as it is the children.

“In addition, many adults find that with aging and infirm loved ones, they are faced with decisions and instances they’ve never encountered before, on top of handling the likely death of a parent or close relative. All of this can be quite a bit for the entire family to bear.

“In order to alleviate some of the stress children and families might endure, I’ve put together a list of resources that can benefit everyone. I hope you will find these useful and worth sharing with your audience.”

What brought her to my blog was this post entitled Grief, which I wrote about two months after my mother died in 2011. The issue of bereavement has fascinated me even as a child: open casket/closed casket; sitting Shiva, as Jewish people do, or a loud celebration as they do in New Orleans.

Saying Goodbye: Talking to Kids About Death

Preparing for the Death of a Terminally-Ill Loved One: What to Expect, and How to Help the Entire Family Move Forward

Letting Children Share in Grief

The Bereaved Employee: Returning to Work

Final Logistics: A Step-by-Step Guide to Handling a Loved One’s Belongings After Their Death

Keeping the Peace While Settling a Family Estate

5 Things You Must Know as the Executor of an Estate

Jennifer notes: “While not all of these resources pertain to children, it’s important to remember that children will feel the effects of death that echo through the family, and I think several of these resources can be a great help to parents and extended family.”

Also, Nautilus. When illustrator JP Trostle’s mother died, he and his family faced a challenge familiar to many: cleaning house.

For ABC Wednesday

I didn’t have a huge interest in the British royals, though I’ve seen two movies featuring George VI (The King’s Speech and Hyde Park on the Hudson). His successor, his elder daughter Queen Elizabeth II, has been monarch for my entire life. The late Anthony Armstrong-Jones, the royal photographer, and QEII’s former brother-in-law (her sister Margaret’s ex), had his birthday on 7 March, as do I.

But it was impossible not to be aware of the wedding on 29 July 1981 between Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. As I noted back on 2013-07-27, about a half a year after the event, my friend Jessica developed a parody skit of that event, a narrative accompanied by a slide show. The presentation was the Eighth Step Coffee House when it was still located at First Presbyterian Church, and it was hilariously irreverent. I played the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When Diana died on 31 August 1997, I thought it was most unfortunate. But like QEII, as portrayed in the movie The Queen, I did not realize what an outpouring of grief would transpire.

I know my ex-girlfriend (now my wife) was more affected as well. They were about the same age, among other things. I don’t know if she knew that the Spencers were related to her family, the Olins, at that time, though it’s been much codified since, so they are actually distant cousins.

Still, in my possession is a CD of the BBC Recording of the Funeral Service of 6 September, released on 30 September. I may have purchased it for someone else. I play it nearly every year around this time, and I find it quite moving. The tolling of the bells, the various hymns and readings, her brother Earl Spencer’s loving but bitter tribute, and of course, Elton John’s reworking of his song Candle In The Wind [listen]. Rerecorded shortly thereafter, it became one of the biggest singles of all time.

Lynn Mabry, Sheila E., the niece Rebecca Jade in Philadelphia. We saw them Aug 18 in NYC!


Hymn: A New Poem by Sherman Alexie. The author addresses the hatred currently plaguing the United States

Children of Catholic priests live with secrets and sorrow

Salt Lake County Mayor posed as a homeless person

How we talk about ‘ethnic’ food matters

Why top chefs are starting to give dishwashers their due

The Symptoms of Dying

Questions for Me About Dying By Cory Taylor

Etiquette and the Cancer Patient

Female Lawyers Can Talk, Too

Actually, I was biologically designed to be an engineer

The Many Lives of Pauli Murray, an architect of the civil-rights struggle—and the women’s movement

For ‘Little Mermaid’ star, a rude awakening in Middle America

A study of the 1947 short Don’t Be a Sucker suggests old attitudes about fascism in America have never gone away

Mark Mishler: WE WHO WILL DEFEAT WHITE SUPREMACY

With teamwork and hustle, Toledo Blade dominated after Charlottesville attack

Robert E. Lee was against erecting Confederate memorials

Is there a Confederate general in my lineage?

Yorkshire Pudding of the UK wrote: “My initial definition of ‘trumpish’ is “egotistical, arrogant and boorish, having the capacity to swat away all criticism and blunder ahead in the unsophisticated manner of the 45th President of the USA”

HOW DONALD TRUMP AND ROY COHN’S RUTHLESS SYMBIOSIS CHANGED AMERICA

He’s A Racist In Public, And ‘In Private.’

He has a fake Civil War monument at his golf course and Lies About His Reaction To Charlottesville

The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues

Silence is complicity; ‘support’ is collaboration

John Oliver: North Korea

Scott Pruitt Is Turning the EPA into the KGB

Border wall at National Butterfly Center violates property rights and worse

David Letterman Reflects on Harvey Pekar

The World’s First Robot Lawyer

Upstate New York is waiting for the next eclipse: April 6 2024

The Moral History of Air Conditioning

How (not) to memorise mathematics

The Meaning of ‘Mamihlapinatapai’

Yes, Your Manuscript Was Due 30 Years Ago

A Social Media-Fueled Bestseller List, of Poetry

Notes from a Baby-Names Obsessive

Albany’s Nipper the dog history

Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend

The day Captain Kangaroo visited Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Will Disney stop publishing Marvel comic books?

TV’s Original SPIDER-MAN Breaks His Silence

Woman Sues Cap’n Crunch Because ‘Crunchberries’ Are Not Fruit

Now I Know: A Penny (or 2,500) For Your Misdeeds and The Man Who Liked Himself So Much, He Went to Jail and The Balloon Expedition to the North Pole That Was a Bust and LEGO’s Grayscale Color War

MUSIC

Sheila E. Stands Up for Freedom in ‘Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America’

Pachelbel’s Canon in D, scrolling score

Rubber Soul

Back Alley Oproar

i got music, part iii: i like my hands (and will not cut them off)

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