Memento Mori: The Less Bro-y YOLO

The definition of memento mori according to Merriam-Webster is, “a reminder of mortality.” This idea has been executed in many ways over the years to serve different ideological purposes— from highlighting the uselessness of material objects to reminding people that whatever your socioeconomic class, you too will die. In this article, I will give you a brief overview of memento mori art, and offer ways to incorporate memento mori into your life. 

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Alzheimer's, the Death of a Relationship— An Interview with Colleen Longo Collins

Colleen Longo Collins loves her grandmother as much as it is possible for one human to love another, and her grandmother loves Colleen unconditionally. Colleen’s grandmother grew up in the French Riviera, in Cannes, moved to Santa Barbara in her early 20s, and made a career for herself in the LA fashion world. Growing up, Colleen took refuge at her grandmother’s house because her mother was creating a career and her father was emotionally unstable. In her grandma, Colleen found a person who was always had time to hear about her life, to paint her nails, to look through closets of clothes from around the world. Her grandma modeled femininity for her, but more importantly modeled love. Without further ado an edited interview with Colleen Longo Collins:

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10,000 Hours of Contemplating Suicide by Alison Cebulla

Hi. Hannah here, giving an into to this guest post by Alison Cebulla. This article discusses suicidal fantasies and past usage of hard drugs. This isn't about condoning drug use or suicidal thoughts, but rather about sharing an honest human experience in the hope that others can relate to an aspect of existence that we might normally be afraid to discuss openly.

If you, or someone you know, are in immediate danger call 911. If you are having suicidal intentions please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255— it's available 24 hours every day.

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The Thoughts About Death You Wish You Could Say

Introducing: Death Messages

These are the thoughts you've been having about death that you haven't had a place to share, until now. With our society being all hush-hush about death, it can be hard to find a place to voice our experiences. Death Messages are a way to share your memories, fears, beliefs, and more.*

Mail your Death Messages to:

PO Box 322
Port Washington, NY 11050

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All the Nuances of the Moment I Learned He Died by Zachary Userbaugh

I knew something was up from the fact that the voicemails only asked me to call them back as soon as possible. I knew it was about Grandpa. I knew that I couldn’t take the news in front of Laura. I went to the bathroom. Dad got to it quick. Grandpa didn’t make it. I was sitting on the toilet. I had looked at Laura’s feet, really looked at them, for the first time that morning.

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My Photographic Descent to the Underworld— Images by Virginia Conesa

I created this photoshoot-slash-death-confrontation experience and I had never been the model in the situation. I didn’t know what my subjects were going through. It seemed like a good idea for me to get in front of the camera so I could:

  1. better understand what the process was like for my models
  2. have the models perspective inform my future shoots
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Walking to the Edge of Life— An Interview with End-of-Life Planner, Alua Arthur

Alua Arthur of Going with Grace is an end of life planner— a job she created from the collision of death midwifery and frustration at not having anyone to walk her through the logistics of death. Through her work she has noticed what helps people approach their end of life with a sense of peace, recognized the importance of leaving “shoulds” behind, and has learned to see everyday losses as practice for death. Most importantly, she’s seen how much families are helped when loved ones have advanced healthcare directives. Without further ado, an edited interview with Alua Arthur:

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Deathstination— An Interview with Laura Hardin

HS: Is it challenging to be seeing dead bodies every day? 

LH: It is not for me. Not because I’m cold-hearted, but because at the end of the day I didn’t know these people so I don’t have an emotional connection to them. I am able to do the work I do because I’m not devastated emotionally by the deaths. That’s the whole point of hiring me. I’m the person who is clear headed who’s going to know what to do. I can do it because I’m not in the grips of grief.

Learn about what it's like to be a mortician, who travels to cemeteries for vacation. Find out whether it's ok to hold your own funeral pyre, what you're supposed to do when your pets die, and where the best cemeteries in LA are.

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The Dying Therapist— An Interview with Lisa Greig

Lisa Greig opens her TEDx talk by saying, “I’m dying, but then again so are you.” She is a social worker who believes focusing on having a happy death will result in a fulfilling life. In this interview she shares insights from working in trauma centers and with bereavement clients. She answers the questions: How do you help a friend who’s loved one has just died— and what shouldn’t you do? What will help when you lose someone? How do you prepare for a tragic accident? How do you talk to an aging grandparent or parent about their end of life wishes? And so much more. Enjoy this edited interview with Lisa Greig.

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The 5 Best Death Novels— At Least One is Very Disturbing

1. “Sabriel” by Garth Nix

Do you love foreign, magical worlds? ME TOO. This young adult novel follows Sabriel who is a good necromancer, called the Abhorsen, who puts people raised from the dead back to rest. Nix creates a fascinating version of death that parallels the underworld in the Inanna/Ereshkigal descent myth. Sabriel has to traverse both death and life to rescue her father who has been trapped by a powerful “denizen of the dead.”

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