May 30, 2016

May they rest in honored glory

Never have the "honored dead" been more eloquently extolled than when Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address  on November 19, 1863.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Five years later came the first national celebration of the holiday on May 30th, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried, following the order of  John A. Logan, Commander in Chief  of the Grand Army of the Republic who designated May 30th as Memorial Day.... "for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land."  In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended the honor to all soldiers who died in American wars.

Why They Died: The Motivations of American Soldiers in 12 Great Wars

12. The Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) -- 383 deaths.
11. The Indian Wars (ca. 1817-1898) -- 1,000 deaths.
10. The War of 1812 (1812-1815) -- 2,260 deaths.
9. The Spanish-American War (1898-1901) -- 2,446 deaths.
8. The Revolutionary War (1775-1783) -- 4,435 deaths.
7. The Global War on Terror (2001-?) -- 6,888 deaths.
6. The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) -- 13,283 deaths.
5. The Korean War (1950-1953) -- 36,574 deaths.
4. The Vietnam War (1964-1973) -- 58,220 deaths.
3. World War I (1917-1918) -- 116,516 deaths.
2. World War II (1941-1945) -- 405,399 deaths.
1. The American Civil War (1861-1865) -- 650,000 to 850,000 deaths.

Every year on Boston Common flags are planted in memory of every fallen Massachusetts service member from the Revolutionary War to the present.  In this photograph by Brian Snyder of Reuters you are seeing a few of the 37,000 planted this year.

 Memday Bostoncommon

The "battlefield cross" is far starker, part of the unofficial military ceremony that men and women often hold, either in the field or back at their home base, to memorialize a deceased comrade. 

 Battlefield Cross
This “cross” is not a cross but a field weapon, a rifle, with fixed bayonet thrust into the ground. A helmet sits on the top of the butt of the rifle. This inverted-rifle icon is at the center of a ceremony that enables comrades to pause, to bend a knee, to remember, to grieve, to say farewell. There is often a final roll call, understanding that one—or more—of the names shouted out will elicit no response....The boots are a forceful and personal reminder, symbolizing the “final march of the last battle.”

Jim from Galveston writes For Love Of Country  And of our fellow man.

Dignity, honor, respect and a day of remembrance is all that they ask now of us. Especially, remembrance. So, this weekend, set aside if only for a day, thoughts of (D) or ®. Rail not against your fellow American, nor wish harm to him, his party or his creed. Not on this day.

The men and women in those graves are no longer Democrats or Republicans. They are still and eternally though Americans, and are forevermore worthy of this day given but to them.  Honor the Day. Honor Them.

From their dark and silent graves, they give more honor to our Nation than any one politician, party or officeholder dares ever imagine.  Dignified beyond words, with nobility above the highest offices of government, these silent warriors speak loudly of what it is to be American.  They did not die for the Republicans. Nor for the Democrats, Greens or Libertarians.

Whether in combat, or fifty years later surrounded by only the memories of comrades long since passed, the men and women resting forever under those flags once marched proudly under that banner. They have earned nothing less than the unqualified respect of a grateful Nation, and her grateful people.

The last full measure of devotion is an awesome, terrible thing. Yet, magnificent; and it is upon the altar of their sacrifice that we enjoy the freedom of the greatest Nation in the history of the world.

Stand and salute, and remember them.

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:59 PM | Permalink
Categories: Great Legacies | Categories: Memory, Memorials

May 29, 2016

They woke up in the morning not knowing it would be the last day of their lives

Woman, 55, killed on Sundance zip line died after 'hitting a tree that was blown into her path in freak accident'

55-year-old woman who died after suffering serious internal injuries while on the zip line attraction at Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah Friday struck a collapsed tree, authorities confirmed Friday. Lisa Lambe, from Hilton Head, South Carolina, was found suspended in a zip line harness Friday afternoon and was immediately brought to the ground where paramedics tried - and failed - to revive her.  Police now have evidence that winds had caused a tree to collapse in her path, delivering the fatal blow, Fox13now reported.  If you ever think of a freak accident, this is probably the text-book definition of that,' Sgt. Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff's Office told the station.

Arizona hiker dies after being stung by 1,000 bees

A 23-year-old Louisiana man died after being attacked by bees Thursday morning as he and a friend were hiking within Usery Mountain Park in Mesa, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said.  A medical exam determined the man had been stung more than 1,000 times, officials said.

Just after 9 a.m., Alex Bestler and his friend were hiking the Merkle Trail when a large swarm of bees appeared without warning.  The friend was able to safely make it to a nearby restroom, but Bestler was overtaken by the swarm before he could find shelter, the Sheriff's Office said.

Woman dies from fire ant attack 1 day after her mother died

Authorities and relatives say an Alabama woman standing atop a hay bale was attacked by fire ants and died the day after her mother died. A joint funeral was held Thursday in Selma for the women, 29-year-old Kalyn Rolan and 53-year-old Roberta Lynn Duke, both of Prattville.

Bareback rodeo star, 19, is trampled and crushed to death by his horse in New Jersey show in front of his devastated parents

A horse trampled a rodeo performer to death after it tossed the 19-year-off its back in front of a crowd of thousands, New Jersey authorities said. Bareback rider Coy Lutz was trampled Saturday night at the Cowtown Rodeo in Pilesgrove, about 35 miles southwest of Philadelphia.

Tragedy as star college swimmer, 22, drowns during lifeguard fitness test

Jack Jakubek, 22, from Newburgh, New York, died in a Cape Cod lake in Massachusetts on Saturday during a tryout for a summer job. He graduated from SUNY Cortland last month, where he was captain of the swim team.

Female conductor, 28,  died after falling from a moving train that ran her over

The female train conductor who died after falling from a moving train married the love of her life on the same vehicle just seven months ago.

 Leslie Casey Conductor
Leslie Cacy, 28, fell off the back of the Royal Gorge Railroad train at around 5.30pm on Saturday - just minutes before the end of her shift - and died instantly when she was run over.  Cacy was standing in a door opening at the back of the train as it backed into the station when she fell, the Fremont County Sheriff's Office confirmed. It had previously been reported that she plummeted more than 1,000ft into a gorge.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:25 AM | Permalink
Categories: Death and Dying

May 28, 2016

The Changing Funeral Industry

Dying traditions, and new life, in the funeral industry

Death is inevitable, but, increasingly, traditional burials are not. From diamonds made from cremated remains to eco-friendly interments, the $20 billion funeral industry is being reshaped, creating opportunities for the entrepreneurially minded — and financial hardship for those with business models more set in stone.

At Rockland Golf Course a few years ago, a kayaker paddled to the middle of a pond with the cremated remains of a golfer who had hit many an errant ball into the water. As the rower released the biodegradable container and the ashes dispersed, a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” and 75 members of the man’s golf league chipped shots into the water.

A Great Barrington woman wrapped her mother’s body in a cotton sheet and laid her in a cardboard coffin lined with dry ice. The family then held a three-day vigil at her home dance studio, inviting people to play music and see and touch her face for the last time.

In Woburn, a carpenter with a degenerative brain condition is set to be buried in a suit embedded with mushrooms, which will neutralize the toxins in his body as it decomposes into the earth.

In Seattle, plans are underway for a facility to turn corpses into compost; in Italy, a pair of designers is working on a biodegradable burial seed pod that will allow a person’s decaying body to provide nutrients for a tree planted on top of it.

But the number of alternatives to caskets and cemeteries is making life tough for undertakers and monument makers.
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“People always say to me, ‘You’re set, people are always going to die,’” said Jeff Hardy, of the Chelmsford burial vault company Hardy Doric Inc. “Well yeah, it’s what happens to them after that keeps changing.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:09 AM | Permalink
Categories: Funerals, Burials and Cremations

May 27, 2016

How did the dissected bodies donated to medical science end up in mass graves?

This report by Nina Bernstein at the New York Times shows disgraceful behavior on the part of NYU.  Let it be a red flag to all who plan to donate their bodies to medical science.

Bodies Given to N.Y.U. Ended Up in Mass Graves, Despite Donors’ Wishes

One died in her multimillion-dollar apartment. Another left $1.3 million to charity. A third was an opera costume designer who took regular trips to Europe with his devoted partner. All three donated their bodies to medical science, and eventually served as cadavers for first-year medical students at the New York University School of Medicine. All three had signed forms that promised cremation and the disposal of their ashes by the medical school “in an appropriate and dignified manner.” 

So how did their dissected corpses end up instead in mass graves on Hart Island, where New York City buries the dead it considers unclaimed and indigent? 

Those cases, discovered during an investigation by The New York Times into Hart Island burials, shocked surviving family members and friends. But they also raised larger questions about body donations at a time when medical schools throughout the country increasingly rely on such gifts, rather than on unclaimed bodies, to teach future doctors.

Now, after searching through anatomical records at The Times’s request, N.Y.U. is apologizing, and acknowledging that the cases were part of a practice that went on for years. Until 2013, the school was sending a subset of privately donated cadavers to a city morgue for burial at public expense.

“As an institution, we weren’t aware that this was happening,” Lisa Greiner, a spokeswoman for NYU Langone Medical Center, said. “I promise you it’s not happening now.”

But the revelation reinforces longstanding concerns by some anatomists about the lack of regulation and oversight in a national patchwork of body donation operations. And it could have repercussions at the 16 medical schools in New York State, which use more than 800 donated bodies a year.
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N.Y.U. was one of the first medical schools in the country to publicize annual memorial ceremonies held by grateful medical students to honor body donors. Each year, on average, it receives 46 cadavers and signs up 65 donors. Officials at the Associated Medical Schools of New York, of which N.Y.U. is a member, said that it knew of no other school that had ever sent privately donated bodies to a potter’s field, and that it had been unaware that N.Y.U. was doing so.

Todd Olson, who formerly directed the anatomical donation program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and, as a professor of anatomy, was a leader in the profession’s state and national organizations, said he was sickened to learn of N.Y.U.’s method of disposing of some privately donated bodies.

“This is so out of line with common practice,” he said. “The idea of it is so disrespectful.” But, he added, “Every time you turn around you’re going to find some people who are taking advantage of their access to the dead, because they know the dead are not going to talk.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 PM | Permalink
Categories: Dead used for propaganda or profit | Categories: Desecration of corpses, graves

Who was the 3-year-old blonde girl clutching a red rose buried in a coffin for 145 years yet 'perfectly preserved'?

Mystery of the young blonde girl who has lain perfectly preserved and still clutching a red rose inside a tiny coffin for 145 years beneath a San Francisco home

Construction workers were remodeling Ericka Karner's childhood home in the Richmond District when they hit the lead and bronze coffin buried underneath the concrete garage.The three-foot casket's two windows revealed the perfectly preserved skin and long blonde hair of the girl, who is believed to have died when she was three years old.
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Construction worker Kevin Boylan told KTVU: 'All the hair was still there. The nails were there. There were flowers - roses, still on the child's body. It was a sight to see.'

It is believed the girl was one of the 30,000 people who were buried in the city's Odd Fellows Cemetery, which was active for 30 years before it was forced to shut in 1890.  The bodies were moved to a Colma burial plot in the 1930s to allow for redevelopment - but the little girl in the long white dress with lavender flowers in her hair was left behind.
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Karner, who is currently living in Idaho with her family while the house is remodeled, said she felt awful as a mother thinking of the little girl lying alone in her backyard. She considered the girl 'part of her family now'.
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The city refused to take custody of Miranda, but the problems only continued when Karner tried to have the girl reburied. City Hall finally put Karner in touch with someone who could help, connecting her to the Garden of Innocence, an organization that provides burials for unidentified children. Founder Elissa Davey, who was able to secure the funds needed to have the coffin picked up and temporarily stored in a mortuary refrigerator in Fresno, said they needed to do the 'right thing'.

'That girl was somebody's child,' she said. 'We had to pick her up.''If people find out she's lying at a construction site with no one around at night, you can bet somebody is going to steal her. People into the macabre. Into witchcraft. I wanted her out of there.'

It was obvious to Davey that Miranda's parents loved her very much.  'Just by looking at the way they dressed her,' she wrote. 'Their sorrow was great. We will love her too.' 
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:33 PM | Permalink

May 12, 2016

Peter Stefan is the man who buried those bodies who had no where else to go

Never have I read of a man who so completely fulfilled the 7th corporal work of mercy - to bury the dead - no matter how dangerous it was or how many death threats he received.  With his example of courage and compassion for the most needy, he will leave a Great Legacy.

The Man Who Buries Everyone  Peter Stefan has a job few people ask for: laying to rest society’s forgotten and unwanted.

 Peter Stefan
He is the man who buried those bodies who had no where else to go  - AIDS patients in the ’80s and ’90s; the homeless and impoverished living near his funeral parlor, Graham Putnam & Mahoney, in Main South, one of Worcester’s toughest neighborhoods; and the elder of the two brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon three years ago.
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In Massachusetts, the state medical examiner told the State Senate that 29 bodies were currently in holding, with just three funeral homes willing to accept them for the state’s paltry $1,100 fee. “Of these, only one funeral director routinely handles the majority of our cases,” wrote the medical examiner — referring, of course, to Stefan.
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“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.” Like many funeral home directors, Stefan likes to paraphrase this quote from William Gladstone, the 19th-century Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but most funeral home directors don’t make it their mission the way Stefan does.
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Stefan got his embalming license in 1966, but the funeral business wasn’t his first career. Stefan played the saxophone and traveled between clubs and studios across the country while working his way up in the local funeral home in Dorchester. ....Stefan continued to work as a musician until the ’90s because, even as he took on more clients, his funeral parlor still wasn’t making any money, and he needed another source of income to keep his doors open. Eventually, though, his reputation as the man who would bury anyone made him busy enough that he could afford to quit jumping in at nightclubs and focus on his family life and the parlor.
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“I got a call from them down there,” Stefan remembers — a funeral parlor in North Attleboro where the body arrived during the middle of a wake, complete with a coterie of protesters and media. “They were basically living in a state of terror,” and they needed Stefan to come collect the body as soon as possible. “They were thinking of waiting until the morning, but they said, ‘Nah, we better do something now.’ So we went and got the body in the middle of the night,” Stefan recalls.
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“We bury the dead, that’s what we do,” Stefan says. Doesn’t matter who it is. I can’t separate the sins from the sinners.”

This is how I met Stefan. I was assigned to stand outside the funeral home for my job as a daily reporter at the time. I was there the morning the news broke that Tsarnaev’s body was in the city where I lived and worked. During an unseasonably warm week, I watched protesters shouting from across the street. As the death threats streamed in, Stefan worked the phones among his contacts at cemeteries, searching for a burial plot. Eventually, he connected with a cemetery in Richmond, Virginia that agreed to do the burial, and on May 9, Tsarnaev’s body was moved.

“I never kept a nickel,” Stefan says. “I didn’t want anyone to say, ‘You did the funeral for the money.’ I didn’t get a dime.” Instead, he put the money he received for it into a fund for people who can’t afford prescription medication. It’s something he’s been doing for the last five years as he advocates for a medicine recycling bill in the state. It’s not something he has to do, but it’s like Stefan to turn take something positive from a bad situation.

The 7 Corporal Works of Mercy

 7 Worksmercy Masterofalkmaar,
Seven Works of Mercy by Master of Alkmaar, 1504,  Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

In the Catholic Church, six of the seven corporal works of mercy are listed in the Biblical parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25 vv 31-46) as the model criteria by which Christ will judge people.  They are a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise. They are corporal because they are practical deeds aimed at relieving the bodily distress of our fellow humans. 

  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbor the harborless (today interpreted as shelter the homeless)
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive (today interpreted as visit the imprisoned)
  • To bury the dead.


By the third century, burying the dead was added because it is highly praised in the Book of Tobit (Tobit 1, vv 17-19) to bring the number up to seven, a sacred number. Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God's creation of all things. 

Here are the relevant verses from the Book of Tobit which illustrate how dangerous burying the hated dead can be.

17 If they were hungry, I shared my food with them; if they needed clothes, I gave them some of my own. Whenever I saw that the dead body of one of my people had been thrown outside the city wall, I gave it a decent burial.

18 One day Sennacherib cursed God, the King of Heaven; God punished him, and Sennacherib had to retreat from Judah. On his way back to Media he was so furious that he killed many Israelites. But I secretly removed the bodies and buried them; and when Sennacherib later searched for the bodies, he could not find them.

19 Then someone from Nineveh told the emperor that I was the one who had been burying his victims. As soon as I realized that the emperor knew all about me and that my life was in danger, I became frightened. So I ran away and hid.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:43 PM | Permalink
Categories: Funerals, Burials and Cremations | Categories: Great Legacies

May 10, 2016

Professional mourners, weepers, wailers, keeners and funeral strippers

Down through the centuries, many believed that the more people who attended a funeral, the greater the honor accorded the dead person.
Professional mourners -- and there's a word for them: moirologists -- were widely used in ancient Greece, Rome and the Middle East  to swell the ranks at a funeral.

 Classical Pro Mourners

They are mentioned in the Old Testament:  "Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them" (Jeremiah 9:17). 

Most Professional Mourners Are Women

In ancient Greece, women mourners performed the funeral dirge at a person’s death.  In ancient Rome, female mourners would be hired to keep long vigils while the body lay in state and then accompany it to its final resting place.I n ancient Egypt, women hired as mourners followed the funeral procession, wailing loudly. They were also depicted on the tomb walls.  In Ireland, women mourners would keen over the body.  This keening was more of a poetic nature set to a vocal wail while the women would rock or clap.....
Known as professional mourners, wailers, criers, weepers and keeners ..., these women were hired to lament the deceased with loud weeping, wailing, hair-pulling, clothes-tearing, even tambourine and chest beating, depending on the dead’s status and the amount of money invested in the mourning. This was done to encourage others to join in with organized, rhythmic expressions of grief.  In some countries, a hired mourner expressed all of the grief that the family could not bring themselves to do in public.

Today, professional mourners or weepers are common in some African countries, China, India and in MiddleEastern countries.

Actors fill in at family funerals: Chinese mourners hiring professionals to wail loudly as traditional ritual dictates

For about £300, seven professionals will wail loudly – as expected of family mourners in a traditional Chinese ritual – and encourage others not to be embarrassed to join in.  An absence of tears indicates the deceased was not loved, and disgraces the family.

Taiwan's most famous professional mourner  is Liu Jun-Lin, 30, who is hired every day to cry at funerals for people she never knew. You can hear her wail in a 13 second clip at the link.

Traditional Taiwanese funerals are elaborate, combining sombre mourning with louder, up-tempo entertainment to fire up grieving spirits.
For the entertainment portion, 30-year-old Liu and her Filial Daughters Band wear bright costumes, and perform almost-acrobatic dance numbers. They do the splits, back-bends, and somersaults. Her brother, A Ji, plays along on traditional stringed instruments.
Later, Liu will change into a white hood and robe, and crawl to the coffin on her hands and knees. There, in time to her brother's organ playing, she performs her signature wail. 

Even Britain, determinedly multi-cultural now has  Mourners-for-rent discrete and dignified

British mourners are renting "professional sobbers" to cry at funerals for to make people believe the deceased was really popular . For £45 an hour, the fake mourners can be rented to cry for the duration of a funeral service in order to swell the numbers at funerals.  Ian Robertson, the founder of Rent-a-Mourner, in Braintree, Essex...The mourners-for-hire are briefed on the life of the deceased and would be able to talk to friends and relatives as if they really had known their loved one.

"The Middle Eastern way is to provide wailers - crying women - as opposed to the quiet, dignified methods we use.  Our staff will meet with the client beforehand and agree 'the story', so our staff will either have known the deceased professionally or socially. They will be informed of the deceased's background, achievements, failures etc. so they can converse with other mourners with confidence."

 Professional-Mourners Dignified

But as long as there have been professional mourners, they have always gone too far

In the 6th century B.C.: Greek legislator Solon instituted curbs against the use of professional mourners.  In the 4th century B.C., Plato forbids hired mourners in his Laws. In the 4th century, Saint John Chrysostom derides the use of "hired women… as mourners to make the mourning more intense, to fan the fires of grief" and threatened to excommunicate anyone who hired professional mourners.  In the 12th century, the epic about Spanish hero El Cid shows him requesting only unpaid grief:

When I die, heed my advice:
Hire no mourners to weep for me.
There is no need of buying tears;
Those of Jimena will suffice.


In the 17th century, the Irish church forbade the hiring of professional mourners. In 1800, the Archbishop of Cashel in Ireland prohibits "all unnatural screams and shrieks, and fictitious, runeful cries and elegies, at wakes, together with the savage custom of howling and bawling at funerals."
 Keening At Wake

Going too far is why China is vowing to stamp out Funeral Strippers

This week, China's Ministry of Culture told people to stop hiring strippers and vowed to work with police to stamp out the practice.  "This type of illegal operation disrupts order of the cultural market in the countryside and corrupts social morals and manners," the ministry said in a statement.

Rural families hire strippers to perform at funerals to drum up crowds.  A 2006 story by the state-run New China News Service said villagers in parts of Jiangsu believed that "the more people who attend the funeral, the more the dead person is honored." For other families, the displays are a way to show off wealth and filial piety for the deceased...

The vast majority of Chinese think stripping is utterly inappropriate for a funeral, but some in the countryside really enjoy it....The practice isn't isolated to rural China — the island of Taiwan also has funeral strippers who perform on the tops of trucks to make for a faster getaway. Here is a National Geographic video.

Although professional mourning has largely disappeared from the consciousness of Western culture, it has left its mark on the language. The word "placebo," Latin for "I will please," was used to refer to paid lamentations before it meant "non-active medication." And "threnody" (sad song) comes from the Greek threnos -- the carefully constructed song of the professional mourner, as opposed to the disorganized weeping of family and friends.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:44 PM | Permalink
Categories: Funerals, Burials and Cremations

"I'm not sure if you'll ever see this, but if you do, just know that I love you very much"

A charming way to create an artifact of love, but not recommended unless you have children who will scramble under anything unlike your spouse.

Wife Finds Note From Dead Husband Written Under Workbench He Made For Her

When we write our loved ones a letter meant to be read after we die we're usually just trying to put our feelings into words whether the letter is ever read or not.  Many of these love letters end up squirreled away in a box somewhere or similarly hidden from sight, so when a letter is found after the loved one has passed away it feels like a minor miracle.

The touching story shared by an Imgur user about a love letter found after his dad's death sounds more like a major miracle- because the letter was written on the underside of a workbench he'd built for his wife.

 Love Under Workbench
The letter reads:

"I love you Becca. Whatever day this is, I hope it's a good one. God truly answered my prayers the day he gave me you. I know that these days are the best I'll ever have, and I'm glad you're in them. I'm not sure if you'll ever see this, but if you do, just know that I love you very much. If there is one thing want in life, it is to be as good to you as you are to me. If I can do that, I'll be the happiest man alive. - I love you beautiful wife. - Mason
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:00 AM | Permalink
Categories: How to - Personal Legacy Archives

"I'm not sure if you'll ever see this, but if you do, just know that I love you very much"

Wife Finds Note From Dead Husband Written Under Workbench He Made For Her

When we write our loved ones a letter meant to be read after we die we're usually just trying to put our feelings into words whether the letter is ever read or not.  Many of these love letters end up squirreled away in a box somewhere or similarly hidden from sight, so when a letter is found after the loved one has passed away it feels like a minor miracle.

The touching story shared by an Imgur user about a love letter found after his dad's death sounds more like a major miracle- because the letter was written on the underside of a workbench he'd built for his wife.

 Love Under Workbench
The letter reads:

"I love you Becca. Whatever day this is, I hope it's a good one. God truly answered my prayers the day he gave me you. I know that these days are the best I'll ever have, and I'm glad you're in them. I'm not sure if you'll ever see this, but if you do, just know that I love you very much. If there is one thing want in life, it is to be as good to you as you are to me. If I can do that, I'll be the happiest man alive. - I love you beautiful wife. - Mason
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:00 AM | Permalink
Categories: How to - Personal Legacy Archives

May 3, 2016

Bizarre deaths

Indian teen dies after accidentally shooting himself in the head while taking selfie.

Serial rapist killed by runaway trailer while distracted by porn on his cell phone in Memphis... just blocks from where he terrorized numerous women

More bizarre deaths at Dead Weird

Wedgied to death. Denver St Clair, 58, was found dead with the waistband of his underpants wrapped around his neck. Cops believe soldier Brad Davis, 33, suffocated his stepdad during a boozy row by pulling his underpants elastic over his head in an “atomic wedgie

Austrian Hans Steininger with the world's longest beard tripped over his beard and broke his neck while running away from a fire.

French undertaker killed by a pile of coffins in his workshop that fell on him.

Jennifer Strange, 28, of California died of water intoxication trying to win a Nintendo Wii console in a radio contest in 2007. Called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contestants had to drink as much water as possible without going to the loo.

William Snyder of Cincinnati died at 13 in 1854 after being swung around by the heels by a circus clown.

Serving life, electrocuted anyway Murderer Michael Anderson Godwin  tried to fix his TV headphones while sitting on a steel-rimmed loo in his South Carolina cell.  He bit into a wire and and was killed at once.

In 207 BC the Greek philosopher Chrysippus died laughing – after getting his donkey drunk on wine and watching it try to eat figs.

In 2001 Roger Wallace was killed by by his own radio-controlled plane. He lost sight of it in the Arizona sun and it smashed into his head at 40mph.

In 2010, 20 crew and passengers died in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo when the plane was left hopelessly unbalanced and went into a terminal dive after everyone fled to the pilots' cabin after an escaped crocodile  one traveller had smuggled aboard.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink
Categories: Death and Dying

Bizarre deaths

Indian teen dies after accidentally shooting himself in the head while taking selfie.

Serial rapist killed by runaway trailer while distracted by porn on his cell phone in Memphis... just blocks from where he terrorized numerous women

More bizarre deaths at Dead Weird

Wedgied to death. Denver St Clair, 58, was found dead with the waistband of his underpants wrapped around his neck. Cops believe soldier Brad Davis, 33, suffocated his stepdad during a boozy row by pulling his underpants elastic over his head in an “atomic wedgie

Austrian Hans Steininger with the world's longest beard tripped over his beard and broke his neck while running away from a fire.

French undertaker killed by a pile of coffins in his workshop that fell on him.

Jennifer Strange, 28, of California died of water intoxication trying to win a Nintendo Wii console in a radio contest in 2007. Called “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contestants had to drink as much water as possible without going to the loo.

William Snyder of Cincinnati died at 13 in 1854 after being swung around by the heels by a circus clown.

Serving life, electrocuted anyway Murderer Michael Anderson Godwin  tried to fix his TV headphones while sitting on a steel-rimmed loo in his South Carolina cell.  He bit into a wire and and was killed at once.

In 207 BC the Greek philosopher Chrysippus died laughing – after getting his donkey drunk on wine and watching it try to eat figs.

In 2001 Roger Wallace was killed by by his own radio-controlled plane. He lost sight of it in the Arizona sun and it smashed into his head at 40mph.

In 2010, 20 crew and passengers died in a plane crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo when the plane was left hopelessly unbalanced and went into a terminal dive after everyone fled an escaped crocodile  one traveller had smuggled aboard.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink
Categories: Death and Dying

Japanese corpse hotels for "funeral refugees"

In the rapidly aging society of Japan, so many people are dying resulting in overworked crematoriums and the bizarre phenomenon of corpse hotels.

The corpse hotels where loved ones pay £50 a night for a room for their dead relatives: Family's forced to store bodies as Japan's overworked crematoriums struggle to cope

With an aging population dying off at an increasing pace, Japan's crematoriums are struggling to cope, and families are forced to put their deceased loves ones in 'corpse hotels'. Sousou, one of Japan's latest so-called corpse hotels, is a refurbished workshop with a plain silver exterior and black draped windows, located on a quiet residential street in Kawasaki city. For £58-a-night (9,000 yen) family members can keep their deceased relative in an air-conditioned room for up to four days until a crematorium can be found.

 Japanese Corpse Hotel Sousou

Crematories need to be built, but there isn't any space todo so and that is creating funeral refugees,' said Hisao Takegishi, who opened the business in 2014. Unlike other such morgues-in-disguise, which try to blend in by looking like hotels, Sousou doesn't refrigerate corpses,relying on air conditioned rooms instead.

As Japan ages its people are dying off at a faster pace.About 20,000 more people per year are expiring with the death rate expected to peak at about 1.7 million a year by around 2040, according government estimates. By then, barring any major influx of immigrants, Japan will have 20 million fewer people.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 AM | Permalink
Categories: Funerals, Burials and Cremations
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As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death - Leonardo da Vinci

Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today.-James Dean.

I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree's way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.- May Sarton

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