News: Sex and Death, Eco-Friendly Funerals and Downsizing

Jan 31, 2023 | 0 comments

These recent news stories and opinion pieces offer insights into love and death, pet loss grief, downsizing and eco-friendly funerals.

If you could, would you want to know when you will die?

Time Flies Card CoverFrom The Washington Post, opinion by Steven Petrow: “Would you want to know when you’re going to die? I’ve thought about this question quite a bit recently…. The question is not entirely a hypothetical one. A few months ago, out of a morbid curiosity, I visited Death Clock, a website that labels itself the “Internet’s friendly reminder that life is slipping away … second by second.” Read the full piece.

Slate: My Dad’s Death Improved My Sex Life

In Slate Magazine, article by Sophia Laurenzi: “… As psychologist Noam Shpancer explained in Psychology Today, “Talking about sex can be likened to talking about death—we all have sex and we all die, yet both issues are difficult to consider head-on…. Before my dad died, I only thought about sex and death abstractly, and I’d never considered the intersection between the two.” Read the full story.

Dealing with pet loss: How to help a grieving pet parent

Dog and cat

How will you deal with your pet’s death?

From The Washington Post, article by Marlene Cimons: “Pet parents often say that losing their animal companions can sometimes be as hard as, if not harder than, losing a human family member, experts said. “Your pets follow you into bathroom. They sleep with you. They are your shadow. Human family members don’t do that,” said Leigh Ann Gerk, a pet loss grief counselor in Loveland, Colo., and founder of Mourning to Light Pet Loss. “Humans don’t go crazy with joy when you come back inside after getting the mail. Human relationships, while important, can be difficult. Our relationship with our pets is simple. They love us just as we are.” People want to help, but often don’t know how. Sometimes their comments can hurt.” Read the full article.

We could all learn from Marie Kondo’s untidy pivot

From The Washington Post, opinion by Tracy Moore: “…The acknowledgment that having three kids can be chaotic would not move the needle most days. But because it’s coming from someone who dared to advise us to evaluate our stuff primarily for whether it sparked joy — inspiring equal parts cultish devotion and apoplectic rage — we’ve now got a tempest in a Twitterpot…. To be clear, no one is coming after your stuff — which, sorry to say, is mostly junk — but your children or partner or siblings will be left to trash, donate or keep it when you’re gone. Remember what we’re up in arms about here, folks: Three old vacuum cleaners, ancient magazines, a box of rusty tools your dad gave you and plates your mother thought had value.” Read the full piece.

From human composting to freeze-drying, new ways to plan a funeral

wicker casket in nature

Biodegradable coffin from Passages International.

From The Washington Post, advice by Climate Coach columnist Michael J. Coren: “… Dying in modern America has never presented so many difficult (or expensive) choices. Tradition once circumscribed us. In the 20th century, 95 percent of Americans had one kind of death ritual: embalming and then viewing the body in a funeral setting, says Shannon Dawdy, a University of Chicago anthropologist. But a distinct shift is underway in how we approach death. More than half of Americans are seeking greener funerals, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, and the percentage is rising. The funeral industry is responding: You can now be entombed in a coral reef. Donated to science. Freeze-dried and shattered into thousands of pieces. Set adrift in an ice urn. “Purified” by mushroom suits. Or, in a return to the past, simply buried in your backyard.” Read the full piece.

This news compilation was put together by Gail Rubin, Certified Thanatologist and The Doyenne of Death®. She’s the author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips, and Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die.

A Good Goodbye