Archive of ‘death and dying’ category

Links of the Dead {October 2017}

October Shadows by William Basso

October Shadows by William Basso

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {October 2016}

💀 A 1903 Proposal to Preserve the Dead in Glass Cubes
💀 In the U.S. market for human bodies, almost anyone can dissect and sell the dead
💀 Assited Suicide – When Dying A Dignified Death Is Better Than Living, And Why
💀 The woman who cleans up after ‘lonely deaths’ in Japan
💀 Iris Schieferstein’s Death and The Maiden
💀 What to Wear at the End of Someone Else’s Life
💀 If You Love Marie Kondo, Swedish Death Cleaning May Be for You
💀 The Movement to Bury Pets Alongside People
💀 Caitlin Doughty Recommends Coffee Table Corpses
💀 12 of the Most Beautiful Cemeteries Around the World
💀 Video: see inside the Museum of London’s secret bone archive
💀 Kyrgyzstan’s bread that feeds the dead
💀 Grave concerns: Haunting tales from the ancient burial sites of Tayside and Fife
💀 The Saintliness of Undecayed Corpses

Links of the Dead {September 2017}

“Still life with skull”, by Louis Jules Duboscq, ca. 1850

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {September 2016}

💀 Canada’s first pet cemetery is now abandoned.
💀 What It Feels Like to Die
💀 When Relatives Die They Become Ancestors
💀 A respectful, eco-friendly way to say goodbye
💀 Death’s Garden: I Found Love on Find-a-Grave
💀 What it’s like to dissect dead bodies for a living
💀 The Ethics of Life Extension
💀 Fear of death and losing a loved one motivated the creation of Almost Heaven
💀 The dead and dying have been ignored by politicians for too long
💀 Like ‘Car Talk,’ but With Dead People
💀 ‘Empty’ is a project created to pull back the curtain on what that grief might feel & look like
💀 Nikki Bella and John Cena Have an Intense Discussion About Their End-of-Life Wishes
💀 Is it Possible to Be Scared to Death?

Links Of The Dead {August 2017}

Michael Zavros, White Peacock

Michael Zavros, White Peacock

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

More reading: Links of the Dead {August 2016}

💀 Why Your Dog’s Death May Be The Most Difficult Event Of Your Life
💀 Japan Unveils a Buddhist Funeral Robot
💀 Everything Dies! A Coloring Book About Life!
💀 Friends honor artist’s last wishes with kiddie pool water ballet
💀 The Joys of Soul Midwifery
💀 Meet the “Death Positive” Women Changing the Funeral Industry
💀 With a Glimpse of Mortality, Losing Sight of the Wild
💀 The Ecology Of Death

Links Of The Dead {July 2017}

Conquering Princeling by Tia Kinsman

Conquering Princeling by Tia Kinsman

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

More reading: Links of the Dead {July 2016}

💀 The One Thing No One Ever Says About Grieving
💀 This Is Why So Many People ‘See The Light’ Near Death
💀 The Lady Anatomist Who Brought Dead Bodies to Light
💀 Want to Cut Your Carbon Footprint? Get Liquefied When You’re Dead
💀 I’m Terrible, Thanks For Asking
💀 9 Secrets of Coroners and Medical Examiners
💀 When photography was new, it was often used to preserve corpses via their images
💀 DIY coffin-building workshop reviving dying art of casket-making
💀 What I Learned Hanging Out with Corpses Around the World
💀 Death Becomes the Wounded (In Conversation with Daphne Deitchman of Little Wounds)
💀 Photographing Victorian Corpses Exposes the Beauty of the Human Body
💀 Life in Death at Tower Hamlets Cemetery
💀 Japan’s “Corpse Hotels”: It’s There That No One Will Stare
💀 A Year Gardening the Grave of a Stranger
💀 The Professionals Who Want to Help You Plan Your Death
💀 ‘Stop the corpses rolling into my garden’: Desperate man’s plea as bodies from cemetery fall into his land

Respect The Zombie; or, On Mourning The Death Of George Romero

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My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I’m pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible. –George Romero

With the news of George Romero’s death, there’s a peculiar hole in my heart that I am not certain will ever be filled. Romero’s films had a profound impact on me at young age, and have been a part of my life, in some form or another, ever since that time. I felt I knew him intimately, and yet I never met the man–and if given the chance, I probably wouldn’t have (I’m not really big on meeting celebrities. Or people in general, I guess.)

NotLD

Where were you when you saw your first zombie? I think I was ten years old, in 1986, and it was Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, whilst seated upon an ugly floral sofa in the living room of my family’s small house on Viking Drive, the empty, troubled house that I still dream about to this day. From the opening scenes of Barbara and Johnny’s ghoulish encounter in the cemetery where they trekked to place a wreath on their father’s grave, to the expository radio and television updates on the zombie phenomenon, presented with such deadpan expression: “…the wave of murders…in the Eastern third of the nation is being committed by creatures who feast upon the flesh of their victims,” and those unforgettable scenes of the bloody aftermath of the gas-station pump explosion and little Karen Cooper (the OG Ghoul Next Door) hacking her mother to death in the basement of that abandoned farmhouse…these are scenes I have watched so many times that their shadowy afterimages are burned indelibly behind my eyelids, and I can replay them in an instant.

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When I was eleven or twelve years old, a book suddenly appeared on my mother’s bookshelf. I suspect it was a gift from her boyfriend at the time, whom I believe was really quite fond of my sisters and I, and delighted in introducing us to all manner of gruesome, gory movies. I’m not sure my mother really appreciated the gift of this book–in retrospect, it just doesn’t seem like her cup of tea. It was very much my cup of tea, however, and captivated by its lurid cover, I would steal into her bedroom time and time again, sneaking The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh from her shelf, secreting myself away in my bedroom and devouring the story of George Romero and his fascinating filmography. For a period of several months, I thought of nothing but this man and his zombies, but far from working myself into a state of terror, I just grew more and more fond of this visionary and his shambling undead creations.

Already a fan of horror, and of ghosts and monsters, (thanks Scooby Doo in my formative years!), the concept of the zombie was relatively new to me at that time, but my interest in it grew to influence my every decision regarding reading, viewing, and even listening, for years to come. I believe that’s what got me into Iron Maiden; after all, their iconic mascot sort of looks like some crazed, skeletal, undead flesh-eater, you know?

I think it was easier to fixate on these ghastly monsters and fantastical stories of the macabre instead of focusing on my own life, which was becoming increasingly chaotic. In the grips of addiction, my mother had grown quite monstrous, her frightening rages unpredictable and inconsistent–I never knew what might set her off, how to deal with it, or how to prevent it from happening, again. I became paralyzed with fear anticipating the fury of her next explosion, numb with guilt and shame and recriminations: why is our mother like this? What did we do to make her angry? How close are we to becoming that family on the street, the ones that the neighbors call the police on once a week? (We were somewhat lucky, there was already another family that had us beat in that regard.) In the face of my mother’s alcoholism, I found myself shutting down, shutting people out, becoming a zombie myself. These many years and mommy-issues later, monsters, and zombies in particular, are still a safe haven for me. How funny is that?

Martin

But, although I’m very familiar with Romero’s oeuvre, I’ve still only seen Night of the Living Dead! Well, and maybe snippets of Creepshow. I suppose after having read about these films so often, I almost feel as if I have already seen them? I did see the Dawn of The Dead remake, and I saw The Crazies remake, and well, I guess I suppose I have seen most of Land of the Dead, but I barely remember it, so I am not certain that counts.

At any rate, I was terribly saddened to hear of George Romero’s passing. Thinking about his life and his body of work dredged up a lot of issues for me–old bones I thought I’d buried deep, as well as the good stuff, too, the lifeblood that sustained me in troubled times, and the passion it sparked in me for the themes he touched on in his work and all my related interests that grew from that. Without him, I’d be a very different ghoul today.

I shall miss George Romero–the “Godfather of the Dead”,  “father of the modern movie zombie”–tremendously. To celebrate his life, I have commenced watching all of the films I’ve come know and love from reading about them so very long ago, and which influenced me in ways I am still discovering today. To start with, one that Romero called his “most realized film”, Martinwhich is actually not a zombie film at all! A story about a confused, misunderstood youth committing a series of vampiric murders, Martin has long since intrigued me. I also think that since I so closely associate Romero and his zombies, it might be easier on my heart to watch a film that would seem to be so distanced from that.

What are some of your favorite George Romero films? How are you holding up since the passing of our beloved storyteller? Disembodied hugs for you all can be found here.

Links of the Dead {June 2017}

Artist credit: Matsuyama Miyabi

Artist credit: Matsuyama Miyabi

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

More reading: Links of the Dead {June 2016}

💀 When Your Loved One’s Last Wish Was ‘No Funeral’
💀 ‘Story of Flowers’ Tells an Epic Animated Tale of Life and Death
💀 A Controversial Trial to Bring the Dead Back to Life
💀 Why does cinema still demonise grieving mothers?
💀 This Farmer Wants To Give Animals A Better Life — And Death
💀 A Guide to Architects’ Mundane and Monumental Graves
💀 When a Pet Dies, Helping Children Through the ‘Worst Day of Their Lives’
💀 Why Trips To The Cemetery Aren’t Just For ‘Big Fat Goths’
💀 Feminism, politics and death: my mum died the night Hillary Clinton lost
💀 One Year After the Pulse Massacre, an Orlando Group Confronts LGBT Death Head-On
💀 Even in death, everyone is striving for that perfect no-makeup makeup look.
💀 Watching funerals streamed online offers a new way to deal with death
💀 What to Know About Donating Your Body to Science

…and finally, A Sad Farewell to the Man Who Started The Death Cafe Movement, Jon Underwood.

Links of the Dead {May 2017}

Symbiosis, Dan McCarthy

Symbiosis, Dan McCarthy

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

More reading: Links of the Dead {May 2016}

💀 The 12-year-old who helps out at the family funeral home
💀 Finding the plot: England’s tombstone tourists
💀 In Green-Wood Cemetery, Sophie Calle Invites You to Bury Your Secrets
💀 Ancient Funerary Garden Discovered in Egypt for First Time
💀 When I Miss My Mom, I Put on Her Eye Cream
💀 This Brooklyn couple made hard cider from Green-Wood Cemetery trees
💀  The Director of The Human Centipede On Confrontations With Death In The Horror Genre
💀 Pop Goes The Reaper! A new series on death positivity in pop culture
💀 A Letter To My Mother That She Will Never Read
💀 These Extremely Loving Pet Owners Preserve Their Pets For Eternity
💀 Medieval Death Bot tweets about how people in medieval England died and it’s fascinating
💀 Bring Soup, Not Salad– and other rules for those in mourning.
💀 Beauty in Decomposition: An Interview With Artist AJ Hawkins
💀 Meet the Funeral Therapy Dog Who Helps Mourners Process Their Grief
💀 Passed away, pushing up daisies – the many ways we don’t talk about death
💀 How Close Is Too Close? When Death Affects Real Estate
💀 Speaking with the Dead Is an Effective Way of Mourning
💀 Kieran Crowder ‘Liberates’ Ashes, Makes Art
💀 What happens when a spouse dies in the middle of a divorce?
💀 The Uncanny Body: Jennifer Firestone’s Gates and Fields
💀 Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and the funeral arts in the year 2017
💀 Playing With Death: The Morbid Curiosity Game
💀 The Grave Girl Explores Upsala Swedish Cemetery in Sanford, Florida

Links of the Dead {April 2017}

Artist: Haenuli Shin

Artist: Haenuli Shin

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

More reading: Links of the Dead {April 2016} // Links of the Dead {April 2014}

💀 How Grief Books By Mediums Harm The Living And The Dead
💀 Victorian ‘Coffin Torpedoes’ Blasted Would-Be Body Snatchers
💀 Death-Inspired Love Comics That I Create To Cope With My Depression
💀 How Tech Is Transforming A Bejing Burial Site
💀 Grieving Haitians go into lifetime of debt to fund funerals
💀 This Is What It’s Really Like To Do Makeup… On Dead People
💀 The Devastating Process of Dying in America Without Insurance
💀 My Journey As A Hospice Care Volunteer via Patricia Lundy
💀 The Grave Girl Shares Some Out Takes From Her Year Of Cemetery Visits
💀 Remembering the World’s Oldest Person, in the Objects She Left Behind
💀 Bang the Drum Slowly: Grief in Modern Horror
💀 See Death as a Triumph, Not a Failure
💀 In South Jersey, a familiar fight to save a historic African-American cemetery
💀 How To Love The Earth In The Afterlife
💀 13 Reasons Why I Gave it a Shot (and am glad I did) via Death In The Gay Den
💀 Thoughts On The International End of Life Doula Association Training Weekend, From Death In The Gay Den

Links of the Dead {March 2017}

american ghoul

Photo credit: American Ghoul {Daniel Vazquez}

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in or related to the Death Industry recently.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {March 2016}

💀 Carnival and the Spectacle of Bodies
💀 What Do We Do With the Clothing of Grief?
💀 “Zombie” Votes (or, Voter Fraud and The Agency of the Dead)
💀 This comedian’s dad died last month. So she added that in her Tinder profile.
💀 What the Dead Can Teach Us About Aging and Beauty
💀 Patton Oswalt Explains How Pop Culture Gets Grieving All Wrong
💀 When a Partner Dies, Grieving the Loss of Sex
💀 A discussion of grief, survivor’s guilt, & intersectionality in the wake of the Pulse Tragedy.
💀 Vice talks to the guy who’s responsible for fixing wonky skeletons at the Mütter Museum.
💀 More Than 100 Bodies, 70 Coffins Recovered From Construction Site In Old City
💀 Tubercular Venus: When the Beauty Standard was Dying
💀 In Trunyan, where mortality is openly confronted with a visible spectacle of human decay.
💀 Death, decay, and regeneration in the art of Nicomi Nix Turner
💀 Powerful photographs of terminally ill patients living out their final wishes
💀 Things I Wish I Had Known When My Dog Died
💀 Catching Feelings: The Myth of Victorian-Era Tear Catchers
💀 From Here to Eternity: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty of The Order of the Good Death
💀 Don’t Go Into the White Light: A thoughtful rumination on the (unintentional) lack of diversity in the death positive movement

Elsewhere: Taking Your Pulse (Interview for Storycorps)

Pulse

On Saturday I had the distinct honor to talk with with my good friend Gus for Story Corps about the Pulse tragedy in Orlando last June. We discuss grief, survivor’s guilt, intersectionality and death care, among other things.

Gus writes about it at Death In The Gay Den today, where you will find a link to the entire interview, I hope you’ll take a moment to listen.

I should also note that, although she doesn’t remember telling me this, my sister encouraged me several years ago to “do one thing every day that scares you”. I was freaking out so badly about this that I think it should count as three days worth of anxiety-inducing initiatives!

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