Whispers of the Dead: When Death Doesnt Die

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His sense of his body in space seemed to be shifting. He also repeated words and phrases, often ones that made no sense. The green dimension! Smartt found that repetitions often expressed themes such as gratitude and resistance to death. But there were also unexpected motifs, such as circles, numbers, and motion.

Early on, one man talked about a train stuck at a station, then days later referred to the repaired train, and then weeks later to how the train was moving northward. I want to go home! Even basic descriptions of language at the end of life would not only advance linguistic understanding but also provide a host of benefits to those who work with the dying, and to the dying themselves.

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It could also offer insight into how to communicate better with the dying. Differences in cultural metaphors could be included in training for hospice nurses who may not share the same cultural frame as their patients. End-of-life communication will only become more relevant as life lengthens and deaths happen more frequently in institutions.

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  8. Thanks to medical advances and preventive care, a majority of people will likely die from either some sort of cancer, some sort of organ disease foremost being cardiovascular disease , or simply advanced age. Those deaths will often be long and slow, and will likely take place in hospitals, hospices, or nursing homes overseen by teams of medical experts. And people can participate in decisions about their care only while they are able to communicate. More knowledge about how language ends and how the dying communicate would give patients more agency for a longer period of time.

    Just over years later they reached Toraja, a cultural region that today encompasses the districts of Toraja Utara and Tana Toraja. Toraja is dotted with villages perched high on the side of cliffs or nestled deep in the valleys below. The villages in turn are connected only by winding, one-lane dirt paths carrying two-lane traffic that dodges dogs and toddlers along routes pocked with head-banging, watermelon-size ruts.

    I made the rough trek here after years spent writing and speaking about an American way of death that glorifies medicine and drugs but fears death, which it considers a failure of technology or will. That leaves most Americans dying in institutions, when the majority say they would prefer to die in peace at home.

    After my husband, Terence, died, I began seeking alternatives. I have come here to explore a culture that is even more extreme, but in the opposite direction. Nearly half a million Torajans live in the highlands of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The vast majority, at least 90 percent, are Christians, but they remain influenced by their traditional religion, Aluk To Dolo, or Way of the Ancestors. There are obvious limits to my search. Risma Paembonan takes dinner to her mother-in-law, Maria Salempang, who died two weeks earlier, at Time at home with parents can be highly prized. Seeing, talking to, and feeling the presence of a dead loved one are commonplace in the West, write Colin Murray Parkes and Holly G.

    But the Western habit of sweeping the dead out of sight within days or even hours of death would seem far too abrupt to a Torajan. The best thing to resolve grief is time. What if we, like the Torajans, gave ourselves more time to unspool it at its own rate? I climb a shaded bamboo structure the family has built for out-of-town guests. I curl up on a rug next to a young teen, the granddaughter of the deceased.

    Dinda applies eyeliner.


    How Do People Communicate Before Death? - The Atlantic

    She fiddles with her smartphone. Hundreds of men, women, and children wander below or sit chatting in the shade of ancestral homes—called tongkonan— distinctive stilted structures that carpet the region, their giant curved roofs seeming to float like huge red boats on seas of palm, coffee trees, and bougainvillea. The spaces between the tongkonan are cluttered with squealing pigs bound to bamboo poles, soon to become lunch. Women in slim black-and-white sheath dresses sell cigarettes. A motorcycle vendor hawks Mylar balloons. Sleek, fat water buffalo are everywhere, lounging under trees, standing alongside the road, or being walked in circles by young men who tend them as affectionately as they would pets.

    A master of ceremonies high in a tower above the crowd addresses a magnificent animal, its huge, gracefully curved horns as wide as a man is tall. Larger funerals feature viewing pavilions where the guests are served tea, coffee, and snacks. A grand Torajan funeral is measured in the number and quality of buffalo, which serve as a form of currency. Today is near the end of more than a week of meals, receptions, meetings, prayers, entertainment, and carefully choreographed rituals separating the dead gradually from life. Funerals glue Torajans tightly, one family to the next, one village to the next.

    Funerals consume savings as people outdo each other in gifts of animals, creating multigenerational obligations and conspicuous consumption. Your cousin donates a buffalo? You must give a bigger one. Then your son or daughter must. This dark side of funeral obligations can be clearly heard in the cries of the emcee announcing the gifts. Torajan funerals are also great fun.

    A funeral is a wedding, a bar mitzvah, and a family reunion all in one, easily outstripping the conviviality of Irish wakes.

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    Lavish funerals are a chance to meet and mingle, to eat and drink well, to enjoy games and entertainment—even to network for jobs or eye prospective mates. There are water buffalo fights. The family does not support gambling. They chant their way around the field, pumping the coffin up and down as the lyrics grow bawdy: something about body parts, and size, and sexual prowess. A water fight breaks out, with the bearers drenching each other, and the guests, with water from plastic cups. Daniel figures he has attended more than funerals in his lifetime.

    He says that at a funeral like this a minimum of 24 buffalo should be sacrificed. Sometimes the number may exceed a hundred. Food and drink for hundreds of guests and temporary bamboo housing for visitors add to the costs. One woman remembers her grandmother saying funds were too scarce to pay for college. It is commonly said that in Toraja, one lives to die. Friends and family carry the body of Abraham Papa to his grave in a wooden duba duba, a funeral bier made to resemble the ancestral family homes, called tongkonan, that dot Toraja.

    By tradition, bystanders may kick or throw water—or even buffalo droppings—at the procession. Find out more about our range of cremation urns and the types of urns available for your loved one's ashes. Cremation urns. We will guide you through all of the available options for funeral flowers and floral tributes. Flowers for a funeral. We have complied a list of the most popular songs for funerals, from classical music to modern day pop songs. Popular songs for funerals.

    Funeral hymns are an important part of a Christian funeral service in the UK. Here are some of the most popular hymns for funerals. Popular funeral hymns. Learn how to write and deliver a memorable eulogy in tribute to the person who has passed away. Writing a eulogy. Discover what to include in an order of service and what other stationery is available for the funeral. Our funeral stationery. Discover how to arrange funeral charity donations in lieu of flowers. Arranging charity donations. Learn how to write an obituary and share details about the forthcoming funeral.

    Writing an obituary. What is a Funeral Notice? Learn more about selecting a venue, who you should invite and other arrangements for a wake. How to organise a wake. Find a Funeral Director Search by town or postcode. When someone dies. What to do immediately What to do when someone dies When someone dies at home When someone dies in hospital When someone dies abroad. First steps after a death Timeline of what to do when someone dies Medical Certificate of Cause of Death Registering a death Bringing your loved one into care.

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    Prepaid Funeral Plans. Advice and guidance categories Organising a funeral Attending a funeral Grief and bereavement support. Most popular guides A guide to funeral etiquette How long after death does a funeral take place? What to wear to a funeral Bible readings for funerals Coping with grief and loss Sympathy card and funeral flower messages A guide to being a pallbearer Bereavement and compassionate leave in the UK. Latest guides What to put on a headstone A guide to non-religious funerals Interment of ashes Non-religious funeral readings A guide to burying ashes Talking about death How to cope with grief on Father's Day Life's Moments.

    Dignity PLC. Arranging a funeral Planning a funeral Funeral poems and verses. Poems and verses for funerals Poems and verses for funerals can bring comfort during such an upsetting and difficult time.

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    In this guide: Popular funeral poems and verses Happy and funny funeral poems Short funeral poems Non-religious funeral poems Popular funeral poems and verses The following verses are among the most popular for a funeral. I cannot speak, but I can listen. I cannot be seen, but I can be heard. For if you always think of me, I will never have gone. Margaret Mead Don't Cry for Me Don't cry for me now I have died, for I'm still here I'm by your side, My body's gone but my soul is here, please don't shed another tear, I am still here I'm all around, only my body lies in the ground.

    I am the snowflake that kisses your nose, I am the frost, that nips your toes. I am the sun, bringing you light, I am the star, shining so bright. I am the rain, refreshing the earth, I am the laughter, I am the mirth. I am the bird, up in the sky, I am the cloud, that's drifting by. I am the thoughts, inside your head, While I'm still there, I can't be dead.