The Conversation You Aren’t Having

Death is a somewhat taboo topic in our society, and this is in many ways unfortunate. Have you had a conversation about death with your loved ones?   If you haven’t done so, it can deeply impact your final days, cause you and your loved ones a lot of grief, and cost your estate a Read more about The Conversation You Aren’t Having[…]

Why I Became a Mourning Doula

The following was posted as a guest post over at “Confessions of a Funeral Director”: I’ve been around death A LOT.   When I was 4 one of my playmates, a 5 y/o, died of an asthma attack.   They buried her and planted a tree at school in her memory.  I couldn’t wrap my Read more about Why I Became a Mourning Doula[…]

Cardboard Coffins

Yes folks, cardboard coffins.  This isn’t some kind of joke, nor is it meant as any kind of insult to the dead.  Don’t think it is necessarily for the poor, either – in fact, the opposite can be true.   Those who are educated and thinking about the end are more increasingly opting for natural, Read more about Cardboard Coffins[…]

Is Exploding Casket Syndrome For Real?

I’ve been asked on a number of occasions if caskets can really explode, or if this is just an urban legend.  Actually – and not so astonishingly when you think about it – it is true. Be forewarned, a somewhat graphic description follows.  If you have a weak stomach, or don’t want to think about Read more about Is Exploding Casket Syndrome For Real?[…]

Lachrymatory or Tear Catcher – Funeral & Grief Artifacts

This is one of those customs that fascinate me, and is one which is so clearly tied to helping one manage their grief.   To me, the lachrymatory seems outright poetic.  Check it out: A Lachrymatory or Tear Catcher / bottle was popular from the 1720s until after the Civil war, and were an important Read more about Lachrymatory or Tear Catcher – Funeral & Grief Artifacts[…]

Is Cremation Better?

Many people operate under the assumption that cremation is better.  The reasons they usually cite don’t seem to be so much about spiritual reasons, unless they practice certain Eastern religions, but rather typically include: It is natural, and better for the environment It is less expensive We are running out of land Decomposition is bad Read more about Is Cremation Better?[…]

Death Doula Diary…Working with Harry & Alice*

I met with Harry* and Alice* (all names and identifying details have been changed).   They are a lovely couple who are expecting their first child.   This change in their family life moved them to want to be more prepared for the inevitable, even if it is (hopefully!) a very long time off.  Impending Read more about Death Doula Diary…Working with Harry & Alice*[…]

Is Embalming Necessary?

In the US embalming is rarely legally required.   The purpose of embalming is to slow the process of decomposition, however in many instances refrigeration does just as good a job.    Refrigeration can slow the process by days, whereas the embalming process can slow it by weeks.   Here is some basic info: Embalming Read more about Is Embalming Necessary?[…]