Category Archives: Death

Finding Immortality

How long do you want to live? It’s not that we can determine how many years we will be on this earth, not exactly. We do have something to do with it, though. Most obviously, we can take care of … Continue reading

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Thinking About Cancer: Metaphors

I’ve been blogging recently about cancer. This topic has been on my mind since I am about to have my cancerous prostate removed. One thing I have been reflecting on is culture’s dominant metaphor for dealing with life-threatening illness. I’m … Continue reading

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The Benefit of Almost Dying

Within the course of a couple days I had conversations with two people who had nearly died recently. Each of them was hospitalized in critical condition, and in each case family members were summoned because the patient was more likely … Continue reading

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Death Then and Now: Providential, Suicidal, or Just Regrettable?

A few months ago I read Thomas R. Cole’s book The Journey of Life. I was especially interested to learn about attitudes toward older people throughout U.S. history; here are a few thoughts about the topic. In reading Cole, I noticed that attitudes toward the … Continue reading

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Learning About Life From The Obituaries

Do you read the obituaries? Though I’m getting to the age where I probably should, I seldom do. Just as pedestrians tend to depend on others to look for traffic when crossing the road, I depend on my mom and … Continue reading

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Dealing With Bereavement: Irrational Thoughts and Hope

In Joan Didion’s memoir of grief, The Year of Magical Thinking, she reports that her thoughts were often irrational. Her husband John Gregory Dunne died on December 30, but, according to her, “It was deep into the summer… before I … Continue reading

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Life Changes Fast–Dealing With Sudden Bereavement

“Life Changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.” So starts Joan Didion’s memoir The Year of Magical Thinking. She’s alluding to her husband John’s death from a massive heart attack … Continue reading

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Complicated Grief

There was recently an article in the New York Times about complicated grief. Virtually everyone experiences intense suffering after losing someone they are close to, but most don’t have that intense suffering continue on for over a year without lessening … Continue reading

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Ash Wednesday: You’re Gonna Die

I’m writing this a few days before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. Most Ash Wednesday services give participants the opportunity to have ashes–a symbol of mortality–rubbed on their foreheads. The presiding minister says something like “Remember … Continue reading

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Are Elderly Parents an Emotional Weight for Their Children?

I recently wrote about medical ethicist Ezekiel Emanuel’s Atlantic article explaining why he doesn’t want to live past age 75. I left off without having discussed one of his contentions, that living a long time can have a negative impact on … Continue reading

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