Funereal Choices

Gary Laderman  “What do you want done with your body when you die?” This is a question I never fail to get from undergraduates in my college Death and Dying course. I’ve taught the class at Emory for roughly twenty years, and after a semester spent exploring attitudes toward death and mortuary practices over time and around the globe, students are most curious about this: the ultimate questions—not in theory, but in real life. My real life.

Meditations on Death, Presence, and Practice

By Sienna Craig According to Tibetan tradition, when we die we enter into the bardo, a liminal realm between death and rebirth. For the forty-nine days after our body returns to the elements from whence it arose—earth, air, water, fire, and space—our consciousness migrates from this lifetime toward another reincarnation. Those who have not died—family, friends, religious attendants—help the dead through this in-between space. For seven weeks, ritual moments mark time, lending shape, sound, even color to grief. People light butter lamps, offer spoken prayers, and focus the heart-mind on the one who has passed. This period is a time […]