Tragic Death and Obituary Writing

Tragic Death and Obituary Writing

This post first appeared on December 29, 2017, just after the Bronx apartment fire that killed 12 people. Since then, “Tragic Death and Obituary Writing” has become one of the most popular posts on this site. The year 2018 has given us senseless deaths in...
Are Pet Sympathy Cards Absurd?

Are Pet Sympathy Cards Absurd?

The seriousness with which we Americans now approach our pets’ passing shows how far we’ve moved away from our formerly god-fearing attitude toward the afterlife. Today, pet sympathy cards have come to seem normal. Think about that. (Full disclosure: I haven’t had a...
Making a Mountain Out of a Dime Bag

Making a Mountain Out of a Dime Bag

Last year Ryan Saffrhan was shot to death in New Orleans shortly after trying to sell a dime bag of marijuana in a sketchy part of town. The New Orleans Times-Picayune described the event in a hybrid piece that was part news story, part obituary. The paper quoted...
Selfies: Today’s Kodak Moment

Selfies: Today’s Kodak Moment

Last spring I jumped at a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit Paris. Ticking all the Travelocity boxes, I tromped off to the Louvre one morning to see the Mona Lisa. Passing through corridor after corridor of imposing canvases and statuary, I finally reached the Mona...
Saying Goodbye to My Dad

Saying Goodbye to My Dad

Capt. Richard L. “Dick” Martin, Cam Ranh Air Base, Vietnam, 1969, standing next to a C-17 Caribou like the one pictured, which I found among his Vietnam photos. On the back of the color photo, he wrote “Ahh—shade. Somewhere in Vietnam.”

Writing this piece for Slate in 2014 is what first got me thinking about the role of technology in saying goodbye to a loved one. It was really personal to me, especially the last nine or ten paragraphs. Hope you have a moment to read it.

Regrets…Still Missing Maggie

Regrets…Still Missing Maggie

In my late 20s, in the ladies room of the local animal shelter where I was a volunteer, I overheard an attractive woman in her 50s say she’d decided to move to Scottsdale simply because she liked it there. Wait, who does that? Intrigued, I asked her to meet me for coffee and tell me more.

Sexism and Stroganoff

Sexism and Stroganoff

The 2013 New York Times obituary for Yvonne Brill, a rocket scientist, infamously opened with a description of her her housewifely charms: ”She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three...
Destination Funerals Change Scenery

Destination Funerals Change Scenery

Cremation has made it possible to hold a memorial in a distant location well after a person’s death, giving rise to so-called destination funerals. “Just as marriages have moved away from religious buildings and register offices,” says London’s Daily Mail, “now...