This week in the New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd turned her column over to Father Kevin O’Neil, a Catholic priest, who has spent much time ministering to the dying and consoling the grieving.

On Friday morning at 9:30 am, sites across the Internet shut down for a minute in memory of the victim's of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary last week. Though this is not the first time that the Internet has "gone dark" for a cause, this is the first major group action taken online in response to a death (or deaths). Though the Internet provides lots of remote places to grieve—such as message boards, online support groups, and video streaming of funerals—this moment of silence marks a new way of social, communal grieving, and we wonder if this sort of memorialization will become more common in the future.

CNN is aggregating a nice collection of tributes from around the world honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. People have contributed with personal and creative memorials such as messages in the sand, and poems to those who lost their lives, and the town as a whole. 

 

Even if you are fortunate enough not to be personally affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School slayings, you've almost certainly been at the receiving end of the relentless, sometimes gruesome media coverage. This has created special issues for families and communities with small children, and particularly for elementary schools. Many school administrations have chosen to be proactive and have scheduled assemblies or class-by-class discussions about the tragedy, in many cases lead by school psychologists and counselors.

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Caring for an aging or elderly parent or grandparent can be emotionally, logistically, and financially complicated. And if you're one of nearly 7 million Americans providing long-distance care, these arrangements be even more challenging.

We're very interested in the idea of highly personalized funeral and memorial services, which is why this story caught our attention: funeral director Joe Lombardo at Williams Lombardo Funeral Home in Clifton Heights, PA is arranging funerals with the slogan, "We Put the 'Fun' in Funeral." Lombardo is making funerals that are specialized, personalized experiences—for the person who died and for those who attend the service.

We believe that life insurance can make a huge difference both before a death (in the form of peace-of-mind) and after a death (in the form of financial support).

Last night Rock Center with Brian Williams aired a very powerful piece about a tough subject: Talking about dying in order to improve end-of-life.

Besse Cooper, the world's oldest living person, died this week at the age of 116. Cooper lived in three centuries; she was 18 years old at the start of WWI, 43 years old at the start of WWII, 73 years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, 93 years old when the Berlin Wall came down, and 112 years old when Barack Obama became President.

Over at The Huffington Post, grief expert Gloria Horsley offers a helpful list of things to say (and things not to say) to someone who is grieving, as well as helpful things to do for someone who has experienced a loss.