Death Filter
  1. cleaning the house, tending the weeds.

    On the accretion of stuff: “And so, without siblings in whose faces we might see our pasts, and without children who reflect back to us ourselves and our future, we cling to the representational, the inanimate, the stuff to which we attach memory and meaning.”

    Death
  2. Goodbye Piper

    Dementia took the mind of Bruce Jenkins’ mother, but it could not erase their shared love of words. “Take a book, and read to her just as she read to you.”

    Books
  3. A Very Awkward Breakup

    “My mind was spinning. Love with a Chance of Drowning was due to publish in three months time but the love itself was drowning.” Torre DeRoche had to promote her memoir at the same time she and her partner had split. At The Fearful Adventurer, she explains what happens.

    Authors
  4. On Birds, Bullets, and Being

    Kris reflects on women, aging, invisibility, and anger, after her 50-year-old neighbor was killed by police. “Otherwise, feel free to roam about the cabin, but the bar is closed. Put on the hideous red hat, proclaim the end to your sexual being, and commence to overeat. Conversely, you could always get a gun.”

    Death
  5. On Grief, Patton Oswalt’s Engagement, and “the Heart’s Expansion”

    In a powerful viral post, Erica Roman — who lost her husband in April 2016 — replies to Patton Oswalt’s online detractors after the comedian (and widower) announced his recent engagement.

    Commentary
  6. On Gifts

    Susan Briscoe on the gift she received the day of her diagnosis: “I have reclaimed that gift of acceptance. Living in a way that is true to me means accepting and fully embracing this experience so that I can do my best to transform it into something positive.”

    Death
  7. “Choose a windy day and stand at any spot out in the country. Then (this part is important) turn your back to the wind. Open the box and toss the ashes into the air. For the first time in my well-planned life, let the wind take me where it may.”

    Death
  8. The Changeling

    Lillian Ann Slugocki reflects on her brother’s death: “I bore witness, and believe me, this is infinitely more difficult because it’s acknowledging that you are helpless, and power greater than you is in control.”

    Death
    Photo by Gina Easley
  9. Motherless

    “I walk around like I have a lightning rod through me. I can’t sit because I feel like I should be doing something. I pace, and I’m short with the kids, and I picture my life without them all and I feel like my lungs will explode.” A fraught, bittersweet journey from foster to adoptive parent.

    Death
  10. Losing a Pet in an Autistic Household

    On how an Autistic son copes with loss: “At last, he asked how I felt. A grief inquisition ensued. As if he knew emotion collapses me inward, Tyoma tugged and pulled each word out of me, like an invasive, but beneficial medical procedure.”

    Autism
    By Tyoma
  11. I Did My Hair in Case Matt Damon Showed Up to My Lumpectomy

    “I looked pretty, I thought, pretty enough for surgery and possibly Matt Damon.” Sara Dorner, a mother of two, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Here, she reflects on her diagnosis with a bit of humor.

    Death
  12. Moved by Kim

    “Through his tears, he asked if they’d let him use heroin there.” Seth Davis Branitz on his brother’s drug addiction and death, and burying his entire immediate family within two months.

    Death
  13. December 16

    “What do you say to a man who is dying?” The mundanity of the weather forecast butts up against the profundity of a man’s final moments in this spare but evocative poem.

    Death
  14. Writing as Momentary Witness

    Lynn Casteel Harper writes of the “darkly luminous and the luminously dark” after the sudden death of her local pastry chef: “I ate a dead man’s tiramisu this past summer. I did not plan such a macabre act; one rarely does.”

    Death
    Photo by Daniel Cortes (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  15. The library of lost conversation

    Mathew Lyons reflects on emptying the house of his deceased parents: “Death ends our dialogues with the dead, but the conversations want to go on . . . to be in an empty house lined with shelves is to be in a library of lost conversations with them.”

    Books