Category: Modern Death Attitudes

Narcissistic Control Freak

When I had children, I took a very “what will be, will be” attitude. I didn’t feel the need to KNOW and PLAN everything. I didn’t learn the gender before birth. What’s the rush? I’ll find out in nine months! I didn’t get any kind of genetic testing, or even routine tests for common abnormalities….


Death – It’s Happening!

I love going on removals. I love being the family’s first contact with the funeral home, the chance to make a good first impression, and since I’m also an embalmer, I know the importance of not wrapping the face too tightly in plastic or carelessly storing the body in the cooler without regard to positioning….


Erlkonig

The legend of the Erlkonig, or Earlking, is that a father and son are taking a frightening journey through a dark forest, in which the Earlking lives, visible only to the children whom he abducts and kills. Throughout the short opera, the Earlking lures and intoxicates the child, who tells his father repeatedly that the…


Myths Dispelled

There are several myths and urban legends passed around about the dead and what people have seen dead bodies do. These stories are all lies. Every single one of them. Even if your uncle was a mortician and he says his friend saw it happen all the time, your uncle is a liar. I will…


Immediate Family Only

Once again: embalming is not required for viewing. Funeral homes are required to tell you this, in writing and when you meet with them. However, each funeral home or other facility can set their own policies when it comes to viewing of an unembalmed body, and most will restrict viewing to immediate family only. Although…


It’s OK To Avert Your Eyes Sometimes

In the early ’90s in Liverpool, England, Denise Bulger was shopping with her two-year-old son James, and she turned her back on him for literally 30 seconds. When she turned around, he was gone. Later, surveillance from the store would show James being led away by two males. That day, James was walked to the…


I’m All Caught Up With the Kardashians

Since New Year’s Day is stupid, I like to make equally stupid New Year’s Resolutions. One year I resolved to spend more money on shoes. Another year I resolved to always say “zero” and not “oh” when reading the number. For 2016, my resolution was to pay more attention to the Kardashians. It wasn’t easy….


The Day the Sheep Died

As a child I felt fortunate to grow up in the kind of neighborhood I did. We lived in a major city, but in a large valley where properties were commonly one acre or more. We had a huge house with a half-acre, fruit and cedar trees, and a bridged creek running through the front…


Do Safe Havens Work?

I was taking a break at work, thumbing through a 1994 Playboy one of the guys left in the garage to see if pubes were still a thing back then, and of course thinking I would have to sue the company for sexual harassment, after I was done reading the magazine. Then I went back…


Understanding Permanence

I’m reading Cries Unheard: The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny, written in 1998 about a ten-year-old British girl who, in 1968, murdered two small boys by strangulation. This book was based on several interviews with Mary Bell, now living under an assumed name. Mary spoke of not really understanding the permanence of death;…