Category: funerals, cemeteries

Death by the Book

In 2013 I almost died. Same thing in 2016. I’m 77. My Dear Companion says, “Those events made me a widow twelve-times over.” During COVID I built a coffin that spooked my daughter. Fighting off fear, she built a mini-coffin, “My little coffin can checkmate your big coffin.” CBC, the Canadian public broadcaster, then commissioned…


Intimacy and Exposure

Friendship in the Covid Era Amigos por siempre The year is 1970. I’ve just finished a PhD. This is my first academic position. Hugo and I are teaching at the same university. He is teaching Spanish. I am teaching religious studies. One morning I hear an articulate stream of Spanish swearing echoing down the hall….


Cápsula del Tiempo (Time Capsule)

Earlier I wrote a post about coffins: Before the pandemic arrived, I had begun building a coffin with my friend Ted not because I’m dying but because, as my daughter put it, Dad’s not afraid of dying. Truthfully, Dad is a bit afraid, but he displays his fear by defying death. Dad is self-inoculating, staving…


Ritual in a Pandemic World: Coffins

April 5, 2020, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams announced, “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives…. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country.” What a…


Holocaust remembrance

  Remembrance is supposed to be good for a community, but much depends how those who remember actually remember. The Daily Beast reports on Mike Pence’s way of remembering the Holocaust: “Many Jews have pointed out that Pence, who is an evangelical Christian, imposes a Christian narrative on the Holocaust, comparing victims of the Holocaust to Jesus. His tweet…


A daughter’s song

Everybody dies, and lots of people immigrate. But few Muslims marry Jews, and Mohawks rarely cross the river to conduct Condolence ceremonies among non-natives. Why? “A Daughter’s Song” doesn’t quite answer the question, but it captures what happens when such events coincide. Three months after the death of Myriam Azoulay, Mohawks, invited by artists affiliated…