The Life Matters Media Connection — Managing Our Mortality

A new posting for my Managing Our Mortality column on the

Life Matters Media website is now available.

 

Life Matters

 

To find my latest column titled — Is Death The Enemy? look HERE!

Here’s what The Managing Our Mortality column is all about:

We are notorious for ignoring and denying death; we keep death out of sight and out of mind, postponing any serious considerations until death comes knocking at our door. This inevitably leaves us unprepared and frightened as we face our own mortality. We seldom get around to asking ourselves; “Will my death be good? Will it be wise? Will it matter?”

Death is not only a universal fact of life, part of the round of nature; but it’s also a necessary part of what it means to be human. Everything that we value about life and living—its novelties, challenges, opportunities for development—would be impossible without death as the defining boundary of our lives. So planning for the inevitable, especially when death is not imminent, is important work for us all.

Top 10 Unique Ways We Deal With the Dead

Dying is a fact of life, as is the disposal of a body after the fact. You know all about burial and cremation, but here are the other ways people, past and present- have dealt with the departed.

 

10 Mummification
The mummies of ancient Egypt are probably the world’s most famous dead bodies. Reserved for members of the upper classes, mummification anubis_mummificationinvolved the removal of all organs including the brain, which was pulled through the nose by a hook. The body was then stuffed with dry materials like sawdust and wrapped in linens. The Egyptians believed that mummification preserved the soul for its journey into the afterlife.

9 Cryonics
Who’s never heard of Walt Disney’s quest for immortality by having his body frozen? While that was an urban legend, cryonic science is a reality, currently only legal to perform on those who’ve been pronounced dead. Soon after dying, participants are stored in a liquid nitrogen solution to prevent decay until that time when death becomes a reversible phenomenon. Until then, the bodies remain on ice. Shown here is a four-body liquid nitrogen cooler.

8 Balinese Cremation
Contrary to the more somber western funerals, cremation ceremonies among the Hindus of Bali have an almost carnival-like atmosphere. Festive floats parade down local streets accompanying the body to a burning ground, where it is transferred into a ceremonial bull receptacle and set alight.

7 Plastination
Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany, www.bodyworlds.comSend your corpse on a tour of museums ’round the world with plastination, developed by German scientist Gunther von Hagens. His popular “Body Worlds” exhibits showcase the controversial preservation technique, which involves dissecting the body into bits, embalming it with a hardening fluid and reposing the body into various ‘educational’ positions.

6 Neanderthal Cave Burials
Before they began interring their dead in the ground proper around 100,000 years ago, Neanderthals routinely left the deceased deep inside the caves Neanderthal Cave Burialsof Europe and the Middle East. To Neanderthals, the dark, mysterious recesses of a cave may have seemed like a good place to transfer over to the otherworld, some archaeologists have argued.

5 Bog Bodies
Plenty of travelers perished accidentally crossing the murky bogs of northern Europe, but at least some individuals, especially in the Middle Ages, were buried there carefully and on purpose. Lucky for archaeologists, the chemical make-up of a bog preserves human flesh very well, allowing them to study the unlucky bog bodies closely.

4 Tibetan Sky Burial
Ever wanted to fly? In Tibet, you get to do just that, only after you’re already dead. Instead of trying to bury bodies in the hard, rocky ground, some Tibetans send their loved ones to the top of a mountain and leave them to be eaten by the vultures. The disassembled corpses are even mixed with flour and milk for a tastier treat, to make sure every bit leaves the Earth for good.

3 Viking Ship Burials
Middle Age Vikings lived and literally died by the sea. After death, wealthier Vikings were placed in ships filled with food, jewels, weapons, food and even sometimes servants or animals for their comfort in the afterlife. The boats were interred in the ground, set alight or sent out to sea. The ultimate postmortem destination for Viking warriors was Valhalla, or “Odin’s Hall”, made famous in the Old Norse sagas.

2 Tree Burials
Indigenous tribes in many parts of the world discovered that the best way of disposing the dead was to put them up high, rather than down below. Tree burial of Ogala SiouxGroups in Australia, British Columbia, the American southwest and Siberia were known to practice tree burial, which involved wrapping the body in a shroud or cloth and placing it in a crook to decompose.

1 Towers of Silence
Zoroastrians believe the body is impure and shouldn’t pollute the earth after death through burial or cremation. Instead, the deceased are brought to a ceremonial “tower of silence”, usually located on an elevated mountain plateau, and left exposed to the animals and elements. When the bones have been dried and bleached by the sun, they are gathered and dissolved in lime.

Man’s ashes traveling tropics in bottle after widow sets him to sea

Bottle with ashes, note, money washing up on Florida shores

 

A Tennessee man who loved to travel is having his dreams fulfilled as his ashes make their way through the tropics in a bottle that his widow tossed in the sea.

judi GlunzGordon Scott Smith died at 57 from a sudden brain hemorrhage. Beverly Smith, his wife of 27 years, put some of his ashes in a bottle with $2 and a note.

Images: Loving journey for man’s ashes at sea

She tossed the bottle off Big Pine Key, Fla., in March 2012, hoping the person who found the bottle would call her and tell her where her husband had traveled.

The bottle was found about 50 miles away in Islamorada, Fla., by a man named Ross.

“I called his wife to let her know where her husband was and she was so, so happy. She said the money was for a phone call to let her know where he was,” Ross wrote in his note.

He took his boat out six miles into the ocean amd sent Smith traveling again.

On Sunday, Judi Glunz Sidney, an owner of Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel and Resort in Key Colony Beach, Fla., was picking up debris on the beach when she found the bottle. It had traveled another 28 miles.

“Judi called the wife in Tennessee, who was excited to know of Gordon’s travels! Judi added her note,” the resort posted on its Facebook page. “We put him in a rum bottle (you know, added a little fun to his trip) with the three notes. We added another $1 in case Gordon travels far and a long distance call is needed.”

They tossed the bottle into the waters off Seven Mile Bridge in Marathon, Fla.

“He loved to fish, tell tall stories and make people laugh. He was one of the greatest story tellers I ever met,” Tom Smith, Gordon’s brother, posted.message in a bottle

Sidney was at the resort vacationing with two sisters, who are also owners of the hotel, when she found the bottle.

“We think our mom, who died a few years ago, and Gordon are in cahoots in heaven on this one. They are both from Tennessee, they both loved they keys and spent all of February there each year, and they both drank bourbon,” said Janet Glunz Bischoff, one of the resort owners.

Complete Article HERE!

The Life Matters Media Connection, Part 2

I am delighted to announce that I will be contributing a second monthly column on the prestigious Life Matters Media website.

 

 

Life Matters

 

 

This column will be titled:  Relationships and Intimacy.  Here’s what I have to say about it:

 

The medicalization of dying, in hospitals, in extended care facilities and even in hospice, often leaves little room for the most human of experiences—intimacy. And yet being close to those we love—being able to touch and be touched, as well as having the privacy we need to express our feelings—are essential elements to living a good and wise death.

The sea change taking place in the popular culture, with regards to sexual minorities, people with disabilities, as well as seniors and elders, may not always be reflected in the way we care for those at the end of life. Conscious dying is virtually impossible if those around us are insensitive to our intimacy needs. And the truth is, this is just as pressing a concern for people in traditional relationships as it is for those in non-traditional relationships.

To find the inaugural column, titled — It Never Entered My Mind, look HERE!

Ohio AG to appeal death certificate ruling for terminally ill gay man

I hope you are following this story closely. See HERE and HERE.

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that state officials must recognize the marriage of a gay couple that was performed in Maryland on the death certificate of one of the men who is terminally ill.

Attorney General Mike DeWineOn Monday, U.S. District Magistrate Timothy Black granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the health department registrar from issuing a death certificate for John Arthur, who is dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, that does not list him as being married.

The death certificate must also list James Obergefell as his surviving spouse, the judge ruled.

The Cincinnati couple recently filed suit so that Arthur’s death certificate will read that he and Obergefell were married. Black, citing recent U.S. Supreme Court cases striking down anti-gay laws, ruled in favor of the couple.

But the DeWine’s office says the “definition of marriage traditionally lies with the states” and is prepared to defend Ohio’s right not to recognize the couple’s marriage, and issued this statement:

This is a temporary ruling at a preliminary stage under sad circumstances. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will defend the right of the people of the State of Ohio to define marriage in our state Constitution. The United States Supreme Court has recently emphasized that the definition of marriage traditionally lies with the states, and Ohio’s voters are entitled to the choice they have made on this fundamental issue.

The court had rejected arguments made by DeWine’s office that the case was not an emergency, noting that Arthur’s “death is imminent.”

“Dying with an incorrect death certificate that prohibits Arthur from being buried with dignity constitutes irreparable harm,” wrote Black, in his decision.

Earlier this month, the two men flew from Cincinnati and married on an airport tarmac in Baltimore after receiving donations from friends, family and other connections to cover the cost of a $12,700 chartered, medically-equipped private plane.

The couple wants Arthur’s eventual death certificate to show his status as married, and for purposes including being able to be buried next to each other in an Arthur family plot that allows only descendants and spouses.

Complete Article HERE!

Hump Day Humor

Last Wednesday just blew right by me.  I intend not to let that happen this week.  Time for a laugh.

 

Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage

Married on July 11 in Maryland, John Arthur is in hospice care and “certain to die soon.” He and his husband have sued to ensure their marriage is recognized by Ohio officials at Arthur’s death.

By Chris Geidner

A federal judge in Ohio ordered state officials Monday to recognize the marriage of two men that was performed in Maryland on the death certificate of an Ohio resident in hospice care who the judge says “is certain to die soon.”

John Arthur & husband“The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse,’” Judge Timothy Black wrote in granting the couple a temporary restraining order Monday. The order is in effect until 5 p.m. Aug. 5, unless the court extends the order at a later date.

“By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex

marriages,” the judge concluded, Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue “likely violate[] the United States Constitution.”

The couple’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, said in a statement, “This order is a major step on the march toward marriage equality in Ohio.”

Addressing the constitutional question, Black explained, “Although the law has long recognized that marriage and domestic relations are matters generally left to the states, the restrictions imposed on marriage by states, however, must nonetheless comply with the [U.S.] Constitution.”

To that end, the court examined the Supreme Court’s decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act this June in United States v. Windsor, the 1996 decision in Romer v. Evans, and in other decisions addressing differential treatment found to be unconstitutional under the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws.

Looking at Ohio’s bans on recognizing same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages, while acknowledging its recognition of the marriages of opposite-sex couples who would not be allowed to marry in Ohio, Black concluded, “The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law.”

According to the order, Obergefell and Arthur live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and “have been living together in a committed and intimate relationship for more than twenty years.” The order also notes “they were very recently legally married in the state of Maryland pursuant to the laws of Maryland recognizing same sex marriage.”

The order notes that Arthur is dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which prompted the couple to fly to Maryland on July 11 to get married.

As Black put it, the couple “traveled to Maryland in a special jet equipped with medical equipment and a medical staff necessary to serve Mr. Arthur’s needs, whereupon Plaintiffs were married in the jet as it sat on the tarmac in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. They returned to Cincinnati that same day.”

The lawsuit seeking to have the couple’s marriage recognized was filed against Gov. John Kasich and other state and local officials on July 19.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office defended the state’s laws in filings with the court on Monday, but Cincinnati city lawyers representing Dr. Camille Jones, the vital statistics registrar for the city, declined to defend the law, telling the court, “The City will not defend Ohio’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages,but the City’s vital statistics registrar is bound to follow Ohio law until that law is changed or overturned.”

Asked about the court’s issuance of the order on Monday evening, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told BuzzFeed, “We don’t comment on pending litigation other than to say the that the governor believes that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Complete Article HERE!