Frankly, it sucks. If you’ve ever learned about the death of someone you know through the so-called advanced communication known as electronic mail, you know what I mean.
I remember my first death by e-mail. It was a woman that I knew from church, a terrifically vibrant snowy- haired woman with Southern patois and energy enough to run circles around me in any venue. It was December. She got a bad cold. It went into her chest. She went into the hospital. She never left.
Not two weeks later, it was the death of family friend Phillip Ward (wife not artfully displayed here along with better coverage of the grandchildren here) . Long suffering from MS, he was a quirky writer Catholic Brit (his string of nouns will not suffer hyphenation) who read the Bible in French every day. He was a good friend to my dad, further proving his ability to suffer long.
Then Judith Zitter. A great mercy: I heard about it over the phone.
Today, another person from church. I knew she was ailing. Last Sunday, I heard she had a stroke. She was already so frail that “stroke” is probably a euphemism for something else.
Of the many ways American culture fails, it fails most at seeing death as the end of life.
I previously blogged about death here. For some reason, the vast majority of spam comments on this blog enter through that post.
Do you know this lovely Emily Dickenson poem? It starts like this:
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
Have you had news of someone’s death via e-mail?