The Funeral Hustle

Y’all, this one is real.  It has some pretty NSFW language, but I love how he just lays it out there.

(Proceed with caution–totally not kidding about the language!)

 

 

Whatever it takes to get the word out, I guess.

Better you hear the facts now, even with the expletives, rather than be unpleasantly surprised by it later!

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Death & the Lead Singer

This past week, my Facebook and Twitter feeds were ablaze with the final concert, presented live on Canadian TV, of The Tragically Hip–a band I’d previously never heard of, but who are apparently legend in Canada.

Now, I’ve been around through George Strait’s final tour’s last concert, so I’d seen Facebook on fire for a retiring singer before–after all, I live in Texas, where he’s King George, or even more iconically, just George.  He’s religion around here, like Gord Downie clearly is in Canada. I get it.

But this goodbye tour was touching in its heartfelt reality, and in its open, simple death positivity–because the lead singer of The Tragically Hip is terminally ill with glioblastoma (brain cancer), and this was his last public concert.

 

 

Gord Downie chose to live out his waning days in public, using his fame and circumstances to push forward topics that matter in the process:  the treatment of Canadian First Nations peoples, in particular, and the exhortation to do better in general.

And in the words of one Canadian blogger, to open up the Death Positive conversation even further:

Years from now the question won’t be, “Where were you when Gord Downie died?” but rather “Where were you when he played his last concert?” Looking death squarely in the eye, Gord changed the narrative from not how he will die but how he lived. A powerful reminder to us all.

I don’t propose to know what goes on inside the head of someone facing imminent death. All I know is that a man should be judged by his actions in the face of it. Gord Downie just showed us all how to die with courage, and grace too.

 

Well done, Mr. Downie.

Considering the Unthinkable

In my daily funeral research across the internet, I read a lot about death and dying.   This story captured my attention, my emotions, AND my professional interest like no other.

 

My Son Only Lived for 80 Minutes, but He Helped Save Many Lives

 

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This family’s loss, of their precious baby born with anencephaly–it is, for any woman who has been pregnant, absolutely unthinkable, from a very real sense of denial, of avoidance.

But their story, while tragic, is equally beautiful.  It’s inspiring to me how they managed to think through their options and make space for the most meaning possible from his death, specifically donation of his organs and body to research and medical science.

These parents likely had time to plan ahead; it’s highly likely that they knew he wouldn’t survive long past birth, and so were able to discuss, consider, and make plans and preparations for the certainty of his death.  In that small way, perhaps, his death was made simpler.

That doesn’t matter, though, ultimately.

What we do know now is that YOU WILL DIE, just like precious Amalya Nathaniel up there, just like his loving parents.  And someone will have to make choices for your remains, just as they did for Amalya.

Your body can be used for science like his was (it’s easy to make some of those arrangements now).  It can be cremated, or embalmed and sealed away in a ritzy casket (or not).  It can be sown into the earth in a simple shroud, left to decompose, or purposely decomposed by forensic researchers in many states (Texas, for one–at Texas State San Marcos).  The options are many, the providers diverse–all begging out for you to consider them NOW, before it’s your time to need them!   Failing to do so will cost you and your loved ones, in time, money, and stress.

What is it that you want?   Do you even know, or do you need to talk about options?   If you don’t really know, and especially if your loved ones don’t know what you want–it’s time to put some thought to it, and put the thoughts in writing.

Need help?   Some outside the box ideas? Maybe a little tough-love encouragement?  I do that–email me!

Death, the game!

One of the things I work the hardest at in my real life and here in cyberspace is to open the conversations about death.  I think the more we talk about end of life, the less scary it becomes, and the easier we can approach all the complex decisions and issues that need to be thought through.

To that end, I’m a big believer in Death Cafe, Death Salon, and the Death Positive movement in general–the more forces working to bring death out from under wraps and into mainstream conversation, the better!

And I’m SUPER excited about a new game called Mortalls: The Death Positive Conversation Game.   Check out some of the questions from this game, below:

 

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I’ll definitely have to have this!!

Who Owns the Body?

New and fascinating, from our friends at Qeepr

I was lucky to hear Dr. Tanya Marsh speak on body ownership at the FCA conference–her detailing of how we got to the place where a dead body is said to be property of an individual is fascinating!

So–Sky burial?  Body Farms? Home funeral?  The legal rights of a corpse?

Let Tanya, Lee Webster (from the home funeral advocacy group) and the awesome Qeepr team tell you all about them and more!

 

Questions?  I can help!