News and Blogs

Monsters Versus Sexy Nurses

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The New York Times
October 28, 2012

In her essay in The Times, the author Bess Lovejoy argues that ignoring death “allows us to imagine that our mortal trivialities and anxieties are permanent.” Some of those trivialities and anxieties can be found in our cheeky Halloween costumes, which increasingly seem to be about showing taut and toned skin, rather than it decomposing.

Are we replacing zombie looks with sexy maid and witty high-concept constructs to avoid reminders of death? Or is it time to forget the otherworldly origins of Halloween and just have fun?

Read the full article in The New York Times


The Bright Side of Death

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Apr. 30, 2012

Awareness of mortality can result in positive behaviors

Contemplating death doesn't necessarily lead to morose despondency, fear, aggression or other negative behaviors, as previous research has suggested. Following a review of dozens of studies, University of Missouri researchers found that thoughts of mortality can lead to decreased militaristic attitudes, better health decisions, increased altruism and helpfulness, and reduced divorce rates.

Read the full article in ScienceDaily


How Thinking About Death Can Lead to a Good Life (Society for Personality and Social Psychology)


The Dead Have Something to Tell You

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The New York Times
Published: October 27, 2012

ONCE, we commemorated the dead, left out offerings to feed them and lamps to guide them home. These days, Halloween has drifted far from its roots in pagan and Catholic festivals, and the spirits we appease are no longer those of the dead: needy ghosts have been replaced by costumed children demanding treats.

Over the last century, as Europeans and North Americans began sequestering the dying and dead away from everyday life, our society has been pushing death to the margins. We tune in to television shows about serial killers, but real bodies are hidden from view, edited out of news coverage, secreted behind hospital curtains. The result, as Michael Lesy wrote in his 1987 book “The Forbidden Zone,” is that when death does occur, “it reverberates like a handclap in an empty auditorium.”

It wasn’t always this way.

Read the full article in The New York Times


Transforming the American End-of-Life Experience

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OK to Die Blog
Friday, 24 August 2012

My Baby Boomer Predictions

The Baby Boomers, the largest generation in American history, are now almost all in the last 1/3 of their lives (if average life expectancy is 78). They have spent the previous, early and middle thirds of their lives transforming cultural ideas, expectations and practices (e.g  with the Civil Rights movement, Environmental movement and Women’s movement, etc).

The question now is: “Will the Baby Boomers also transform our cultural ideas, expectations, and practices regarding the End-of-Life?”

I, for one, say “YES!” Here are my predictions and recommendations for this generation of “revolutionaries.”

Read the full article at OK to Die Blog

Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 October 2012 12:24 )

Grieving daughter critical of funeral costs

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The Chronicle Herald
Halifax, Nova Scotia
October 19, 2012

Thousands of dollars worth of unwanted, unnecessary 'services' hidden within home’s package deal.

 TRAGEDY STRUCK JENNIE MORROW’s family twice this year. After her sister died of lung cancer in the spring, her mother succumbed to a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease in the summer.

But the two funerals couldn’t have been more different.

While she says her sister’s funeral was fairly priced, she says her mother’s funeral was a costly affair punctuated by forced package deals, misleading funeral directors and disingenuous contracts.

Read the full article at The Chronicle Herald

Thanks to the HVCC Mortuary Science Alumni & Student Assoc for alerting us to this article.


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