Tag: funeral

Fresh to Death: African Americans and RIP T-Shirts

My 28-year-old nephew, Willie Lee “Chill” Oglesby, Jr., was murdered on November 8, 2017. One of the first things that his mother and my sister, Aleta (affectionately called “Snooky”), did was to commission Novel T’s to create 44 official RIP (Rest in Peace) T-shirts. As ritualized mourning wear, all of Willie’s immediate and extended kin,… Read more →

“Heroic Effort Beyond the Call of Duty”: Death Care Workers and the 1947 Texas City Disaster

On April 16, 2020, the New York Times published an op-ed about the challenges facing overwhelmed funeral directors around the country during the COVID-19 epidemic. In “hot spots” like New York, Detroit, and New Orleans, funeral home staff are working long hours to pick up and prepare the remains of those killed by the disease;… Read more →

Death, Distance, and the Digital World

My neighbor died as I was finishing this essay. We were two weeks into the stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. When the ambulance came, I stood on the front porch and watched the paramedics don hazmat suits before entering his home. His wife stood on the street as they loaded him into… Read more →

Death before Birth: Pregnancy Loss and Funerals in England

A pregnancy loss is a site of tension, situated between waiting for the baby, the unanticipated loss, and the often complicated grieving that follows. Although still often a taboo subject, pregnancy loss has been gradually attracting more recognition as a life event that does not benefit from being silenced. Support for people going through a… Read more →

Waiting for a Death Revolution: A Review of HBO’s Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America

I can’t decide what to do with my corpse. Embalming, the bread-and-butter of the American funeral industry, feels wrong. Is cremation a better option for me? Do I want a funeral service where everyone can cry (or celebrate) my departure? Or is it better to just let things go quietly, no ritual required? The fact… Read more →