Greetings! Today has been a nutty day and February is Heart Month, so let’s get started.
We’ll start with Anna Nicole Smith, 39. Died of a broken heart. We’ll wait for the medical examiner’s report, but trust me….broken heart. Pray for her baby. So many complications in that story, interesting case study for the law students. Not to mention feeding frenzy by the media.
Speaking of babies, the loss of a child is too painful to write about, we talked to a family today that lost a babe due to a freak accident in the home. Heartbreaking.
We love all things Egyptian and overheard a recent visitor to the Tut Exhibit in Chicago describing the some of the death masks on display. Evidently, it was common practice to make masks of infants, including the still born. Heart stopping.
If there is any good news to be found in all of this, the infant mortality rate has plummeted. The numbers have completely shifted.
From funeralwire.com, here’s a quote from Van Pine, president of American Funeral Consultants, New Paltz, N.Y. In the course of human history, most cultures have been made up of parents who buried their children, because most deaths occurred to young people, Pine said. Today’s Baby Boomer funeral directors are really sort of the tail end of…the first generation where children are burying their parents. This is a huge shift.
This change has been little noticed because it has unfolded over generations, as better sanitation and healthcare as well as cures to numerous childhood diseases have gradually reduced the death rate among the nation’s young people. But take a look at this longer view that Pine provided of the average age of Americans at the time of death:
1900: 0-14 53% 65-plus 17%
1950s: 0-14 9% 65-plus 53%
Today: 0-14 2% 65-plus 75%
A century ago, Pine said, his great-grandfather worked as a funeral director and had two livery set-ups: a black hearse with black horses for adults, and a white hearse with white horses for younger folks who had died. They ran the white hearse more than they did the black hearse he said. All the customs that we have were built around burying young people….The needs (of families) began to shift some time in the 30s, 40s and 50s, and we didn’t necessarily recognize it.
Look at those statistics again: A century ago, only one-sixth of funerals were likely to be arranged for a parent 65 years or older; today, more than three-quarters of funerals fit that bill. That means younger and younger people are involved in the funeral arrangement. People are burying and cremating different kinds of people. The relationships are different, Pine adds. The meaning of life and death is different…Many funerals in the past were to recognize that which never could be, because it was the death of a child. And today, we’re recognizing that which was. In other words, today’s funeral arranger is more likely to be an adult child who wants to help create a meaningful, personalized and even celebratory event for a parent who lived a full life.
That’s enough about that. Here’s today’s tip for better living:
No matter your gender: Own some go-go boots.