Enjoy Some Magic

The Genie Lamp

It is not often that we get to ponder magical experiences or observe truly immersive experiences, but both are encompassed in our very own Stephanie Knott’s new art installation—the Genie Lamp! Think back to your childhood and remember when you played the game of three wishes. If you had, at your disposal, an ancient genie who could grant whatever your heart desires, what would you wish for? Would you look for loopholes? Could you confine yourself to only three wishes? Here’s your chance to live out the fantasy!

Continue reading

Grief in the Time of Technology

Grief in the time of tech

When asked, most people would probably laud technology as having made their life better. Tasks can be accomplished faster; entertainment and information are ubiquitous, and we have never been more connected to friends and family. When it comes to grief and loss, however, technology can create awkward and uncomfortable situations, calling into question who is “responsible” for announcing a death via social media and how such a delicate situation can be handled gracefully. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Autopsies

Medical Examiner

Daniel X. O’Neil, Office of the Medical Examiner, Cook County, 2121 W. Harrison Street, Chicago, CC BY 2.0

If death is not sudden, it may seem like an autopsy is entirely unnecessary. After all, this is something that is require by law in cases where the death is suspect or there are questions that remain unanswered. While this is usually the case, autopsies are not limited to legal proceedings and may be desirable for a grieving family for various reasons; in the end, an autopsy is a final means of getting the complete truth about the deceased—what was the cause of death? Were the health care services being provided effective? Is there any reason to fear a genetic condition? All valid questions and all highly meaningful to the family and friends of someone who has passed. Here is what you need to know about autopsies. Continue reading

Where Do You Stand? The Intricacies of Physician Assisted Suicide

hands-216982_960_720

Watching a loved one struggle with a terminal illness is the worst nightmare to some and a stark reality to others. We all hope for an end that comes with dignity and choice, yet not everyone is ensured this simple wish. With California recently joining the very small group of states that have legalized physician-assisted suicide, it is interesting to take a closer look at this controversial issue and the debate that it has stirred up for decades. What is physician assisted suicide? Is it a compassionate vow to protect a person’s dignity or a deterioration of our society’s care for the terminally ill?

Currently only five states have legalized assisted suicide—Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and, now, California. On the other hand 41 states have specifically stated that this is an illegal course of action. General polling has shown that overall the country is almost evenly divided in its opinion; it’s fair to say that this is a complex issue that carries many implications with it. Continue reading

Digital Estate Management: What Is It and Why Might You Need it?

Digital Estate Planning

When you lose someone you love, the last thing on our mind may be their social media accounts or the various digital profiles that they may have created in life. But imagine coming across comments or friend requests on their Facebook, or navigating emails from distant acquaintances who have not heard of their passing. Imagine discovering debt acquired through ongoing payment plans for services to which you did not know they subscribed. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario in today’s world of extensive online presence.

You are already dealing with planning funeral arrangements, supporting other family members and friends and working through your own grief, how can you also take on the frustrating and lengthy process of shutting down various social accounts? Maybe you don’t have to go it alone. Continue reading

Burial With Your Pet: Crazy Notion or Next Level of Personalization?

Being buried with your pet

The Wall Street Journal recently offered an opinion piece on a bill that would allow people to be buried with their pets. Although the issue is being raised in New York, where Gov. Cuomo is currently evaluating the bill, this is an interesting topic that may soon pass to other states—wherever people and animals forge deep bonds. Interestingly enough, several pet cemeteries already allow humans to be buried with their beloved pets if they so choose, but the reverse is hardly ever the case. People cemeteries are, as of yet, reserved mostly for people. But is this practice to remain? Continue reading

5 Creative Ways to Address Your Grief

Write a letter to the deceased

When we think of grief coping strategies, we tend to return to the old favorites—sharing with your friends and family, giving yourself time, perhaps even seeking out counseling. While all of these are essential to the grieving process, there may be a more direct way of releasing your grief; a creative outlet can many times be just as comforting as the old standards. Here are five positive and effective ways with which to address your grief. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Body Donation

Body donation for medical research

Although a far less common option than burial or cremation, whole-body donation is a valid and highly beneficent choice. There are many medical research facilities that will accept donations and, with them, make strides in research and education. To many, this may seem like a very extreme decision, one that their families may oppose. In order to clarify some of the details around the process, we have compiled some of the most commonly asked questions about body donations. Continue reading

Perspectives on Afterlife: What We Can Learn from Islam

Jannah or garden paradise

 

As turmoil and unrest continue to plague the Middle East, it is worthwhile to note that there is a great deal more common ground than disagreement between the Islamic faith and the Judeo-Christian belief system.

In many ways, the Islamic belief in the afterlife mirrors Christianity quite closely. Much like Christianity, there is a Heaven, more commonly referred to as Paradise. There is also a Hell or Jahannem. The idea of a Judgement Day or the Last Day is also quite prevalent and is instrumental in deciding the fate of the deceased. Continue reading

How You Improve the Funeral Service Industry

Funeral director offers comfort

Recently, the Federal Trade commission released its annual survey of consumer complaints; their findings showed that there is an increase in complaints in just about every industry…except funeral services. In fact, this is one of a handful of industries that has actually seen a decline in complaints. What does this mean and how does it happen?

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact reason, the FTC report implies that funeral services has figured out a better way to provide customer service in a time where others are truly struggling. Continue reading