When I was studying Mexican literature in graduate school, I learned about the Days of the Dead, which were celebrated just a few days ago. While most people here in the United States rarely celebrate death, I have come to learn that there are many lessons that death can teach.
Though many people are familiar with Day of the Dead as celebrated in Mexico every November, the truth is that most cultures and religions -- from the Amish to Vietnamese -- use food in their funeral rituals in some way.
In American society today, it is difficult to offer any simply answer to the question. In the past, most Americans would likely talk about dignity and respect, and look to the church and the funeral home to help them do the right things at the time of death.
Have we done what we need to do to protect the people closest to us who will be left behind? Are our spouses, our children, or are partners prepared to make important decisions on our behalf, and have we given them clear instructions for doing so? I
It is the one visitor we are sure will show up one day at our door, yet it is never easy when death finally visits your household. I recently had a death in my family, and what I saw and heard made me wonder about my own funeral one day.
Whether we're able to consciously or subconsciously reason away our regrets or not, it's best to be prepared to experience them when we're dealing with a loved one's end of life. No matter what, there will be regrets.
The Natural Death Handbook is a volume that speaks with simple clarity and grace about the best practices for sitting with the dying, washing and cooling a loved one after passing, and preparing the body for a natural funeral.
In this week's issue, Jaweed Kaleem writes about the resurgence of home funerals, a tradition with deep roots in American life. And Ryan Reilly checks in on one of President Obama's original campaign promises: to close the Guantanamo Bay naval base and detention center in Cuba.
A recent ad in the local newspaper by a Denver mortuary and cemetery called Olinger Highland together with another company's offer of a freebie that arrived in the mail, makes the whole post mortem thing enticing.
During the first week or so following the death of someone's child, we are pretty clear about how to help that parent. I am concerned, though, that in our culture, we are at a loss for how to help these parents once the first week or so has passed.
Nearly 2.5 million Americans die every year. With an increasingly diverse nation of the religious and nonreligious, each death is observed differently, but each life is remembered and celebrated with words and stories. The Huffington Post is collecting eulogies for the dead.
Everything stopped. I froze where I was. I didn't want to move because moving meant that he
was actually dead and that I would have to feel it. I would have to feel things that I never felt
before because Quddus was "home" for me.