Archive of ‘death and dying’ category

Elsewhere: Taking Your Pulse (Interview for Storycorps)


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!

Links of the Dead {February 2017}

Katrin Berge

Artist: Katrin Berge

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, hereโ€™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 {February 2016}

๐Ÿ’€ Why it is now more important than ever for the death positive movement to be political.
๐Ÿ’€ Ghost Marriages: Where the Living Wed the Dead
๐Ÿ’€ Death Hacker: You’re Going to Die, Here’s How to Deal With It
๐Ÿ’€ How the Unrelenting Threat of Death Shapes Our Behavior
๐Ÿ’€ The Skeleton Rocker: A Cozy Reminder of Our Mortality
๐Ÿ’€ In Europe’s First Forensic Cemetery, Corpses Decompose for Science
๐Ÿ’€ Santa Muerte as Religious Resistance
๐Ÿ’€ Dealing with debts when someone dies
๐Ÿ’€ The Challenge of Identifying The Dead In a Disaster
๐Ÿ’€ Grieving Someone You Didnโ€™t Like (because it happens)
๐Ÿ’€ A Company Will Press Your Ashes Into A Working Vinyl Album
๐Ÿ’€ Diet culture is just another way of dealing with the fear of death.
๐Ÿ’€ โ€œFamous last wordsโ€ and Japanese death poems offer two strikingly different approaches to mortality.
๐Ÿ’€ Why the #DeathPositive movement is important for public research
๐Ÿ’€ The Year After My Dadโ€™s Death Was the Best of My Life
๐Ÿ’€ New technology is forcing us to confront the ethics of bringing people back from the dead
๐Ÿ’€ These Elderly DIYers Came To Peace With Death–By Crafting Their Own Coffins
๐Ÿ’€ Bad Taste in Funeral Flowers: 1895-1914
๐Ÿ’€ Art and Death in Medieval Byzantium
๐Ÿ’€ The woman who washes the dead
๐Ÿ’€ “The Phone Of The Wind” Connects Both The Living And The Dead

Currently {February 2017}


Currently I am mourning the loss of my grandmother, who was one of, if not the most, influential women in my life. ย Friends and readers of Unquiet Things know that she has been unwell for a while now–ever since my grandfather passed a year and a half ago, and probably since my mother died, a year before that. It’s no shockย to anyone I suppose; the only surprising thing about it is that she stuck around as long as she did.

My grandmother’s death marks the passing of the last adult figure in my life, which is pretty weird, I can tell you that. ย Or at least, I know that to be true on an intellectual level, but to be honest, I’ve been feeling her absence longย before herย passing. For so long she was lucid and “with it” and even if she’d only met you once in her life and even if it was 50 years ago, she would remember you. But on New Years Day, two months after she turned 95, a cerebral episode left her increasingly confused and disoriented and she rapidly got to a point where she didn’t know where she was, or who we were anymore. We had worked so hard to keep her at home, and she didn’t believe it was her home anymore. It was a heartbreaking decline.


I love this hazy, old photo of her. I never really thought of my grandmother as having legs…for as long as I could remember she had knee problems and then for the last 15-20 or so years she had been using a walker, very slowly and painfully, or just most of the time, confined to the house and in her chair. ย Seeing her pretty legs stretched out in the sun like this makes me absurdly happy.

I owe my love of cooking to her. She never formally taught me anything, but always let me hover nearby and watch, or give me a turn to stir the gravy, or roll out some dough, or a spoon to lick. She never made me feel like I was a nuisance, or in the way, and she genuinely seemed to be pleased with my company. In later years, when standing became too difficult, she would direct the proceedings from a kitchen chair, while I carried out the steps for new recipes that she wanted to try. She had a grand appreciation for a good meal and a tremendous appetite for all kinds of junk food, too. Last May, when she recovered from an infection that left her bed bound, the first thing she said when she was feeling herself again, was that she was hungry for fried chicken!

Like my grandmother, I too loathe phone calls and talking on the phone. Whenever she telephoned me, I knew it had to be an emergency, because she just wouldn’t call, otherwise. ย Unlike me, however, she sincerely liked meeting new people. She immediately wanted to know their whole life stories, everything about them, and as I mentioned, even if she only met them once, she’d still be asking about them years later.


I’m convinced that if not for our grandparents, my sisters and I would not have turned out nearly as well as we did. Not that we’re all that great or anything, but I think we had the potential to go the exact opposite direction. No matter what state my mother was in, drunk or crazy or in rehab, or maybe literally across the state line, they took care of us; they ensured that we always had clothes to wear, food to eat (we thought that everyone’s dinner table was provided for by a grandmother who drove around with meat loaf and tuna casserole in the trunk of their car), and received a sound education.

I think I owe everything I am to my grandmother…even the weird, problematic bits, because my grandmother also had a melancholic streak, as did my mother, and I don’t believe that depression develops in a vacuum. ย I remember her telling me once that in high school she used to write poetry sometimes, and how I was not the least bit surprised to hear that.

She loved true crime novels and watching dramatic court cases. She enthusiastically perused celebrity gossip magazines and oddly enough, thoroughly enjoyed South Park. She thought even the idea of sushi was repulsive and would always make a face if I had told her that’s what I dined on recently. She told us she was partially psychic, because she always knew before someone was to give her bad news–and it always broke my heart to have to give her bad news.

She thought her granddaughters were smart, and beautiful, and perfect.
We thought the same of her.

We’re going to miss you so much, Mawga.

Links of the Dead {January 2017}


“Morgellons”, Caitlin McCormack

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, hereโ€™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 {January 2016}

๐Ÿ’€ Don’t Let Anyone Tell You You’re Not Allowed To Be Upset About A Celebrity Death
๐Ÿ’€ Artist works to capture and preserve cadavers
๐Ÿ’€ 5 places: Where you can’t die
๐Ÿ’€ The โ€˜Maternal Bereavement Effectโ€™ Explains Why So Many Parents Die After Their Children
๐Ÿ’€ Obituaries For Teenage Girls If They Actually Died When They Say They’re Dying
๐Ÿ’€ How to Create an Iconic Jaguar Hearse
๐Ÿ’€ โ€œMirrors With Memoriesโ€: Why Did Victorians Take Pictures of Dead People?
๐Ÿ’€ The Japanese Art of Grieving a Miscarriage
๐Ÿ’€ Mysterious Ancient Egypt ‘pot burials’ stand as metaphor for rebirth in the afterlife
๐Ÿ’€ On Death, Patriarchy & the Anti-Choice Movement
๐Ÿ’€ Taking Care Of The Dead At Home, And Other Matters Of Mortality
๐Ÿ’€ To dig or not to dig? The ethics of exhumation
๐Ÿ’€ The First Cryonic Preservation Took Place Fifty Years Ago Today
๐Ÿ’€ The Grieving Need You Most After the Funeral
๐Ÿ’€ Sometimes Nature is Morbid. Thatโ€™s Why Thereโ€™s #BestCarcass
๐Ÿ’€ How to Eat Like a Gravedigger
๐Ÿ’€ For the Forgotten African-American Dead
๐Ÿ’€ This Kid-Friendly Explanation Of Death Will Change How You Think About The World
๐Ÿ’€ Tracing The Remains: Sabrina Small and Caitlin McCormack at the Mรผtter Museum
๐Ÿ’€ Death Without Darkness: A mortician proposes a redesign for the crematory
๐Ÿ’€ Artist Jaime Erin Johnson explores places where one encounters life & death, growth & decay

this, that, & the other thing {xxxi}

evegrimoireGorgeous art by Brittany Schall in Grimoire issue #1

3. dressesHow nineteenth century Britain became obsessed with insects

tumblr_oi50b0Pi9C1u4z6nuo1_500Stripcraft: Lux ATLโ€™s Spells For The Revolution


Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects From The Museum Of Witchcraft And Magic

โ€  The Lure of Laudanum, the Victorians’ Favorite Drug
โ€  11 Nasty Women Dominating Weird Fiction
โ€  We Have Always Lived in the Castle: America’s queen of weird hits the screen
โ€  Sex Magic: How to Cast Spells with Your Orgasms
โ€  SinSynth: Dreamy Music for a Would-Be Neon Giallo
โ€  Emily Brontรซ was metal-as-fuck and deserves to be remembered as such.
โ€  Witch Marks, Curses, and Magic in the Neglected History of Medieval Graffiti
โ€  The Last Bookbinder On The Lower East Side
โ€  Bad Books For Bad People Episode 5: R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps
โ€  The Wordsmith Behind The Best -And Wittiest- Twitter Of 2016
โ€  The Rise of Science Fiction from Pulp Mags to Cyberpunk
โ€  Meet the ghosts at Los Angeles’s most haunted hotels

Links of the Dead {December 2016}

Popular Detective  Cover art by Rudolph Belarski December, 1945

Popular Detective; cover art by Rudolph Belarski,ย December, 1945

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, hereโ€™s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {December 2015}

๐Ÿ’€What Happens if You Vote and Die Before Election Day?
๐Ÿ’€The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains
๐Ÿ’€Where You Live May Determine How You Die
๐Ÿ’€โ€œDeath Librariansโ€ Shed Light on Mortality and Grief
๐Ÿ’€Picturing the Dead: Victorian memorial photography takes on new life.
๐Ÿ’€How do you tell a child his mother is dying?
๐Ÿ’€Rizpah, Guardian of the Dead
๐Ÿ’€The Observer’s obituaries of 2016
๐Ÿ’€Coffin It Up: Bringing back the art of handmade custom coffins
๐Ÿ’€Made With Ashes: Memento Mori For Your Next Dinner Party
๐Ÿ’€For Transwomen killed by tOakland fire, struggle for respect continues in death.
๐Ÿ’€Speedy shovels shine in Slovakia’s grave-digging contest
๐Ÿ’€What The Texas Fetal Remains Ruling Really Means and How You Can Take Action
๐Ÿ’€The Next Generation of Death Mask is Freakishly Beautiful
๐Ÿ’€Interview with artist Hans Op de Beeck on matters of impermanence and loss through his art and how the reality of death can alter oneโ€™s view on life
๐Ÿ’€Can creativity beat death? New study suggests creatives worry less about dying
๐Ÿ’€Death like you’ve never seen it before | Joanna Ebenstein | TEDxNewYork
๐Ÿ’€Death Work: A conversation with doulas Roxanne Baker and Saralee Gallien
๐Ÿ’€Memento Moro In Felt: The Art Of Lana Crooks
๐Ÿ’€Your Deathbed Playlist
๐Ÿ’€Psilocybin: A Journey Beyond the Fear of Death?
๐Ÿ’€For 22 Unclaimed Bodies in New York, a Grim Path From Death to Burial
๐Ÿ’€The Privilege of a Good Death
๐Ÿ’€4 Foreboding Omens Who Are Trying to Mansplain My Death to Me
๐Ÿ’€Meet The Women Who Love Death
๐Ÿ’€A Mortician’s Tale: Death Positive Gaming
๐Ÿ’€Inside Bolivia’s Skull Festival, Where the Dead Get Diamonds and Sunglasses
๐Ÿ’€Mourning Through Horror Movies
๐Ÿ’€Death & the Maiden’s 2016 Holiday gift guide

I Held My Own Death Cafe And You Can Too

15123274_10210191784978685_9057404028876565042_o (1)

When I first read about the incredibly wonderful concept of Death Cafe, I was thrilled to learn such a thing existed and hoped to attend one nearby…alas, there were none to be found local to me. So I held my own! Read more about Death Cafe and and my experiences with them at Haute Macabre this week.ย today. Featured art by the always incredibleย Becky Munich.

Bonus: How to wear your own Death Cafe (or, as I like to think of it “How To Wear An Article About Holding Your Own Death Cafe”). As always, click on the image to be linked to the item details.dc1

Links of the Dead {November 2016}

Tristeza by Lizz Lopez

Tristeza by Lizz Lopez

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, hereโ€™s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

This time last year: Links of the Dead {November 2015}

๐Ÿ’€ You Can Embalm Dead Bodies In This Funeral Home Video Game
๐Ÿ’€ These Photos Show How People Are Dying Around The World
๐Ÿ’€ Imagined Afterlives: Death in Classic Fantasy
๐Ÿ’€ Evi Numen, Death Doula
๐Ÿ’€ Patton Oswalt Opens Up About How His Wife Died
๐Ÿ’€ Scientifically, What’s the Best Way to Die (Without Killing Yourself)?
๐Ÿ’€ What I learned about dying from those who work in the funeral industry
๐Ÿ’€ The hidden part of the internet where the grieving find solace by sharing pictures of loved ones
๐Ÿ’€ “The Art of Dying”, a virtual & augmented reality art show
๐Ÿ’€ โ€˜Grief is so overpowering โ€“ it consumes youโ€™: The Guardian readers on death and dying
๐Ÿ’€ Glimpses of the Afterlife in Swoonโ€™s New Installation
๐Ÿ’€ The Surprising Number of Middle-Aged White Men Who Think About Faking Their Own Deaths
๐Ÿ’€ Feminists are redefining cultureโ€™s broken relationship with mortality
๐Ÿ’€ Oh, cool. Facebook is saying we’re all dead
๐Ÿ’€ The corpses that changed my life | Caitlin Doughty | TEDxVienna
๐Ÿ’€ Immortal prose: how writers deal with death
๐Ÿ’€ Revisiting Americaโ€™s Dead in Posthumous Portraits from the 19th Century
๐Ÿ’€ Amber Carvaly on why politics, social justice and the death positive movement are inseparable
๐Ÿ’€ A Time To Mourn Without a Place to Pray
๐Ÿ’€ Defying Morbidity: Tales From a Central Pennsylvania Funeral Home. Patricia Lundy talks with her grandmother about what it was like to live so intimately close to the dead.

Elsewhere: Evi Numen, Death Doula

evinumen_veilAt Haute Macabreย this week I talk with Evi Numen about her roleย as a Death Doula. Weย discuss the need for this type of service in a society that lost theย vitalย connection it once had with its dying and the dead, and the training involved inย both bearing witness to the process of dying as well asย easing the passageย from this world to the next.

For the interview, Evi shared some of her exquisite Victorian tintypes, and notedย โ€œIโ€™ve been collecting portraits of local Victorians for a while now, mostly in the form of albumen prints (cartes de visite) and tintypes. Most of the people in my collections are anonymous, and forgotten by history. Their portraits have made their way to flea markets and antique shops, no longer in the family album. I wanted to honor them by giving them a new narrative through paintingโ€ฆ I think of them as small tributes to the individuals depicted.โ€



Links of the Dead {October 2016}

Full circle by Kristy Patterson

Full circle by Kristy Patterson

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, hereโ€™s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

๐Ÿ’€ Canada legalized assisted suicide, but there aren’t enough doctors to keep up with demand
๐Ÿ’€ Saving Skin: The public lives of posthumous bodies.
๐Ÿ’€ The Art of Condolence
๐Ÿ’€ Dying woman picks road trip over chemotherapy
๐Ÿ’€ The Privilege of a Good Death
๐Ÿ’€ A Letter to the Doctors and Nurses Who Cared for My Wife
๐Ÿ’€ 24 Photos Of Skulls and Skeletons From Different Death Rituals
๐Ÿ’€ Aid in Dying Movement Advances
๐Ÿ’€ The 10 Iconic Cemeteries That Made Death Beautiful
๐Ÿ’€ Lessons on Dying From David Bowie and My Friends
๐Ÿ’€ Fetus Funerals: The Dystopian New Turn in the Fight Against Abortion Rights
๐Ÿ’€ Metro Arts Presents DEATHFEST
๐Ÿ’€ This Explorer’s Corpse Has Been Trapped in Ice for More Than a Century
๐Ÿ’€ A Performance Where Victorian Mourning Braiding Meets Neuroscience
๐Ÿ’€ A History of the Infinite: Death & Immortality
๐Ÿ’€ Strengthen Your Sense of Smell While Contemplating Your Doom

1 2 3 4