Tag Archives: death

Guarantees by Elizabeth Meade Howard

old obsolete gravestone without inscription
 

    The gravedigger called, annoyed that I was not at the cemetery where he was waiting to lay my father’s stone marker. I’d expected his call en route and said I would get there as fast as possible. It was a steamy, late summer day some years ago and the cemetery was a 15-minute drive. My father’s ashes were encased in a black plastic box beside me. He’d died in 2000 and since then, the heavy, half empty container had collected dust in a corner of my office. He’d requested the scattering of his … Continue reading Guarantees by Elizabeth Meade Howard

Memento Mori by Melissa Knox

Photo of person by grave marked with rocks and teddy bear
 

To be no more; sad cure; for who would lose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through Eternity, To perish rather, swallowed up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion? John Milton, Paradise Lost   In the middle of the night, my husband sat up; he’d been coughing too much and I’d been lying awake listening to his rasping breathing. His doctors understand as much as anyone about his little-known lung disease, but that’s not saying much. They’d ordered an oxygen tank which … Continue reading Memento Mori by Melissa Knox

Tips and Guidelines for Becoming a Shooting Star by Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier

Shooting star in dusky sky
 

Remain calm. You have purchased the crème de la crème of packages; don’t squander the experience with a panic attack. So bridges make you sweat. So you chew three Xanax every time you board a plane. So you refuse to open your eyes at the top of the Empire State Building, so so so…Think of the hospital beds and the tubes and the shots you will not have. Think of the chemo and the surgeries and the lopped off body parts you’re not trading for a few extra months. You’ve made your decision, so take … Continue reading Tips and Guidelines for Becoming a Shooting Star by Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier

Post Mortem Clean-Up

coat hangers
 

Beyond the obvious grief of losing a parent or relative to old age, there is a particular tragedy that accompanies a person’s passing rarely whispered inside the comfortable blandness of funeral homes or over the open caskets of the recumbent dead: the tragedy of discovering lives left unfinished and dreams unfulfilled while cleaning out the lingering personal effects of the departed. In my lifetime so far, I have sorted and removed the orphaned belongings from the homes of three people that have escaped their corporal lives: a woman in Boca Raton, Fl, whom I only … Continue reading Post Mortem Clean-Up