Blog Archive: July 2013

The death of a celebrity is often a complicated emotional experience for many people. Though we didn't really "know" the person, many of us feel strong connections to our favorite stars. And for young people, these feelings of attachment may be even stronger.

More and more, we (as a culture) are concerned with the impact that we (as individuals) have on the earth. We're trading in SUVs for hybrid cars, eating organic and locally produced foods, and turning off our air conditioning in favor of fans (or at least we're trying to). And so it's only natural that these values for how we live life would carry over into the choices we make for how we want to be in death.

As I headed down to DC for work the other day, my cab driver pointed out something I’d never seen. “See that limo over there?” he said, pointing to a white stretch Towncar emblazoned with a green logo. “It’s from a cancer treatment center. They bring their patients to and from the train station in a limo. Isn’t that nice?” As he spoke, a tall frail woman struggled out of the car, assisted by the driver and an older female companion. She carried the telltale oxygen tank of a lung cancer patient. As she and her companion moved slowly toward the door of the train station, I was instantly thrown back into my mother’s last weeks.

When a person is buried in a cemetery, the family will often visit the gravesite to pay tribute to the person who died. In some ways, this final resting place becomes a new home for their loved one, and many people decorate headstones and gravesites to make the place feel as special as possible. In addition, decorating the grave can help make being at the cemetery a bit less painful, and can be a way to cope...