Death books

Books on death, dying, and funeral customs. Face your fear. These are in no particular order. I’ve read most of them. Some look interesting and I’ll get to. There is enough information here for you to get them from Inter-Library Loan (ILL) if your local library does not have them.

CALL # 611 R6282s.
AUTHOR Roach, Mary.
TITLE Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers
ISBN/ISSN 0393050939 (hc : alk. paper)
ISBN/ISSN 0393324826 (pbk.)

CALL # 393.9 P9772f.
AUTHOR Puckle, Bertram S.
TITLE Funeral customs : their origin and development
ISBN/ISSN 1558887504 :

CALL # 393 M6475f.
AUTHOR Miller, Clarence W.
TITLE The funeral book
ISBN/ISSN 1885003021 (pbk.) :

CALL # 155.937 C69h.
AUTHOR Colgrove, Melba.
TITLE How to survive the loss of a love
ISBN/ISSN 0553077600 (pbk.) :

CALL # 152.4 J279g 2009.
AUTHOR James, John W.
TITLE The grief recovery handbook : the action program for moving
beyond death, divorce, and other losses including health
career, and faith
ISBN/ISSN 0061686077 (pbk.)
ISBN/ISSN 9780061686078 (pbk.)

CALL # 362.14 S92m.
AUTHOR Strong, Maggie.
TITLE Mainstay : for the well spouse of the chronically ill
ISBN/ISSN 0316819239 :

CALL # YA 306.903 M6138t.
AUTHOR Meyers, Karen, 1948-
TITLE The truth about death and dying
ISBN/ISSN 9780816076314 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN/ISSN 0816076316 (hardcover : alk. paper)

CALL # 393.9 M9841m.
AUTHOR Murray, Sarah (Sarah Elizabeth)
TITLE Making an exit : from the magnificent to the macabre-how we
dignify the dead
ISBN/ISSN 9780312533021.
ISBN/ISSN 0312533020.

CALL # 362.1756 H4342.
TITLE A healing touch : true stories of life, death, and hospice
ISBN/ISSN 9780892727513 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN/ISSN 0892727519 (hardcover : alk. paper)

CALL # 616.078 N969h.
AUTHOR Nuland, Sherwin B.
TITLE How we die : reflections on life’s final chapter
ISBN/ISSN 0679414614.

CALL # 155.937 L8499f.
AUTHOR Longaker, Christine.
TITLE Facing death and finding hope : a guide to the emotional and
spiritual care of the dying
ISBN/ISSN 0385483325 (pbk.) :

CALL # 155.937 K95od.
AUTHOR Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth, 1926-2004.
TITLE On death and dying : what the dying have to teach doctors,
nurses, clergy, and their families
ISBN/ISSN 9780684839387 (trade pbk.)
ISBN/ISSN 0684839385 (trade pbk.)

CALL # 344.7304 U78L.
AUTHOR Urofsky, Melvin I.
TITLE Letting go : death, dying, and the law
ISBN/ISSN 0806126353 (pbk.)
ISBN/ISSN 0684193442.

CALL # 155.937 B398i.
AUTHOR Becvar, Dorothy Stroh.
TITLE In the presence of grief : helping family members resolve death,
dying, and bereavement issues
ISBN/ISSN 1572306971 (pbk.)
ISBN/ISSN 1572309377.

CALL # 393 E845.
TITLE Ethnic variations in dying, death, and grief : diversity in
ISBN/ISSN 1560322780 (pbk.)

Greening Death: Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to the Earth by Suzanne Kelly

When We Die: The Science, Culture, and Rituals of Death by Cedric Mims

Saying Goodbye Your Way: Planning or Buying a Funeral or Cremation for Yourself or Someone You Love by John F. Llewellyn

Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial by Mark Harris

The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Dealing Creatively with Death: A Manual of Death Education and Simple Burial by Ernest Morgan

When Death Occurs: A Practical Consumer’s Guide Funerals, Memorials, Burial, Cremation, Body Donation by John Reigle

The Funeral Book: An Insider Reveals How to Save Money and Reduce Stress While Planning a Funeral by William Miller

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan

Renegade – meditation on a scooter.

I saw a scooter parked at my work. The make was “Renegade”. My first thought was that the manufacturer was trying to make a scooter seem tough. A scooter isn’t like a motorcycle. Motorcycles are for renegades. But scooters? Not so much.


But then I thought again. It takes a bit of counter-cultural thinking to drive a scooter. It uses less gas. Some are electric. So you are as far away from the Hummer mentality as possible. You are being environmentally conscious in a society that prides itself on big cars and big debt.

You are also risking your life. You don’t have two tons of 14 gauge steel insulating you from the vagaries of drivers. Driving in Nashville is risky business. People don’t pay attention normally, even when they aren’t texting and updating their Facebook and eating their lunch. Zipping around on a scooter is pretty brave.

So perhaps it is a renegade act to drive a scooter. I still think scooters look funny. But perhaps that is my problem. I think “tough” should look a certain way. I forget that Mother Teresa was tough, and so was Gandhi. “Renegade” isn’t about looks but action.

Who is in charge here?

Jesus didn’t come to make a religion. He didn’t come to establish rules of who was in charge. God is in charge. God is the teacher. But then, as now, people can’t handle that. They want to have proof, and documentation, and certificates of training. They want to control and limit. Jesus wanted nothing to do with that.

In Mark 11:27-33 we read about an interaction between Jesus and the authorities of the day.
“27 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?’ 29Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.’ 31They argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” he will say, “Why then did you not believe him?” 32But shall we say, “Of human origin”?’ -they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. 33So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’”

Even Jesus was questioned. How could he possibly have the authority to heal people and to forgive them their sins? This was radical. This still is radical. Healing? Without medical training? Forgiving sins, without theological training? Are you kidding?

Then others started taking Jesus’ lead. They realized that they had the power to heal too. This concerned the disciples.

In Luke 9:49-50 we hear this conversation between Jesus and his disciples – 49 John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t of our group.” 50 Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.”

Perhaps this is how we got to where we are today. Jesus’ disciples didn’t like the idea of someone else getting in on the action. This was their thing. This was special, and they’d left their homes and jobs and families to join him. They were in the club. Then these strangers started doing what they were supposed to be doing, and they got angry. I suspect they thought “How dare they – they aren’t part of our club!”

But Jesus didn’t come to create a club, or a clique, or a church full of rules. Jesus came to wake us all up. Jesus came to let us know that we all are children of God, and we all can call on Him. With Jesus, we can heal the wounds of the world.

Then Jesus says in Matthew 23:8-12
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

So why do we have ordained people? Why do we have priests and ministers, who are set aside and separate? Why isn’t everyone trained, instead of just a few? How much of this is about control?

What of this is in line with what Jesus taught?

Jesus called us all to be part of the Body. We are all to work together. No one is greater than another.

In Matthew 20:16 we hear this from Jesus – 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

We aren’t to raise ourselves up over each other. We are all equal in the eyes of God. We are all called to love and serve the Lord.