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D.N.R. by Another Name

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The New York Times
December 6, 2010

Let’s imagine an end-of-life scenario. Your ailing and elderly parent has been admitted to the hospital yet again with a condition she’s not going to recover from. The medical team asks what they should do if her heart stops. She’s always said she didn’t want to die "hooked up to a bunch of machines," but you’ve never really explored the details. Besides, though she has a terminal illness, no one has yet mentioned the d-word.

The key question: Should your parent have a D.N.R. order, meaning "do not resuscitate"?

Before you answer, another key question: Would that decision be any clearer, easier or less painful if the order was instead called A.N.D., for "allow natural death?"
Read the full story in The New York Times
Last Updated ( Monday, 06 December 2010 21:08 )

Funeral home storeroom holds 407 forgotten souls

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The Miami Herald
Miami-Dade FL
Dec 5, 2010

Funeral home storeroom holds 407 forgotten souls

Behind a bolted door, in the back of an old mortuary, is a purgatory on earth. Ashes of the dead sit in shoebox-sized containers on dusty shelves, cremated at the behest of loved ones who never retrieved them.

So now, they are kept inside a cooled 10-by-10 room. Current occupancy is 407 .....
Last Updated ( Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:06 ) Read more...

Embalming leaves her cold

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Worcester, Massachusetts

I see dead people.

But I don’t want to.

After attending my umpteenth wake this summer -- we really are dropping like flies -- I’m once again struck by our bizarre and rather gruesome need to dress and decorate the deceased human body like a child’s doll. Some years ago, I was standing somberly before the casket of a dead relative with my 10-year-old niece when she noted in a horrified but highly amusing stage whisper, "She looks like she’s gonna jump out of her coffin and get me." For that lifelike depiction, I suppose we should credit the embalmer.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 December 2010 20:00 ) Read more...

Reflections on the 30 Funerals Challenge || Gail Rubin - Author

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Nov 29, 2010

Reflections on the 30 Funerals Challenge

By Gail Rubin, author of The Family Plot Blog and the forthcoming book
"A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die."

My 30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge has come to a close. As the Grateful Dead song goes, what a long strange trip it’s been ..... Some thoughts about what I witnessed:

The funeral really is for the family and friends closest to the person who died, to offer support to those who grieve. Whether it was a gathering of two dozen people or eight hundred, every event was an opportunity for the community to show their care and express condolences.
Last Updated ( Monday, 29 November 2010 21:04 ) Read more...

Five Life and Death Questions Every Family Should Discuss this Thanksgiving (But Probably Won’t)

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The Family Plot Blog
Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die
November 24, 2010

When the family gathers this Thanksgiving, besides giving thanks for the bounty in your life, take advantage of this face time to talk turkey about end-of-life issues.

Sure, it’s easy to keep it superficial and focus on the football game. But with close relatives you don’t often see, grab the opportunity to have a meaningful discussion. Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals and end-of-life treatment won’t make you dead - and your family will benefit from the conversation.
Read the full article at The Family Plot Blog

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