Si pour la plupart des gens Noël représente les fêtes en famille, les yeux des enfants qui pétillent en ouvrant les cadeaux, les repas festifs, il n’en est rien pour Lyse. Ce jour-là, son monde s’est effondré, Parti en éclat en une fraction de seconde.
La perte subite et inattendue de la personne qui comptait le plus au monde la laisse anéantie.
Mais il faut continuer à vivre. Reprendre le cours de la vie malgré la douleur.
Par un matin humide de janvier, Lyse reprend le chemin du lycée comme si de rien n’était.
Même si elle ne laisse rien paraître de son mal-être, la souffrance et la culpabilité la rongent petit à petit de l’intérieur.
Se recueillir le long des sentiers littoraux varois et contempler la mer l’apaisent. Mais comment faire face à ce deuil impossible ? Comment se reconstruire ? Ou trouver la force de continuer à vivre ?
Une rencontre accidentelle va bouleverser sa vie et remettre en question toutes ses certitudes.
Tu es handicapé. Tu es mort. Tu avais quinze ans. Yannick, ton visage est encore dessiné par le souvenir, comme un papier calque collé sur une vitre. Mais les contours s'estompent et les couleurs s'effacent, un peu comme un paysage que l'on devine à peine dans la brume. Les traits de ma fille qui vient de naître vont-ils effacer les tiens ? Et si, avec le temps, ma mémoire ne parvenait plus à les retrouver ?
Dans ce récit intimiste adressé à son frère défunt, Magali Hack explore, avec sobriété et authenticité, les douleurs et les joies de nos existences et pose des questions essentielles : la perte, la filiation et le temps qui passe.
I explore the complexities of moral experience during the phase of life after a terminal diagnosis by examining the experiences of one woman living as a hospice patient in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Introducing the notion of “existential ambivalence,” I show that this can be a period of deep uncertainty, in which what matters to individuals can shift and fluctuate through time, not necessarily lining up with collective ideals of “the good death.” I focus on a promise this woman made that continued to pull her toward a version of living well while she was also pulled toward dying.
What might the good life amount to at the margins of life? Taking our point of departure in Jonathan Lear’s notions of ontological breakdown and radical hope as well as the phenomenology of lived time, we explore hope within the institutional aging process in Denmark. Drawing on two ethnographic cases, Vagn and Thea, we propose a phenomenological and responsive hope emerging within complex temporalities. This is a relational hope to be included among the living, to be a human being among others. Importantly, it is neither optimistic nor naive but rather hope practiced in the face of devastating life circumstances.
This paper focuses on the author’s mother, a subject whose ageing process was speeded and whose morality was challenged by the myriad and unpredictable effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Using an archive of recorded conversations, the paper examines some of the existential questions with which the mother grappled until she lost the ability to speak. It considers these late ethical expressions in the context of her earlier political activism, marks her brief obsession with the possibility of assisted dying, and concludes by assessing the relative “goodness” of her very recent death in some of the terms that she herself established.
Building on work on post-Fordist affect, we argue that the group-based and person-centered forms of production in mining and milling, respectively, produce contingent conceptualizations of culture, identity, and personhood and, in turn, of dying and death. The “communal solidarism” characteristic of post-mining milieu engenders senses of dying and death entailing a communal merging of erstwhile individual selfhoods. In post-milling milieu dying and death are conceptualized as individuated, but subject to social evaluation. The evaluative criterion in this regard is ability to “perform” dying and death in ways that reflect the valorized essence of local culture, identity, and personhood, “resilient autonomy.”
AIDS has devastated communities across southern Africa, leaving many children orphaned. Grandmothers are considered ideal caregivers because of cultural expectations of intergenerational care, and because they have not been decimated by AIDS to the same extent as younger adults. However, these grandmothers, who currently carry the majority of the burden of care for AIDS orphans, are themselves aging and dying. I argue here that in Lesotho, the caregiving demanded of grandmothers late into their lives not only alters kin relations for the living but has increasingly made a “good” death unachievable for elderly caregivers.
In this introduction to the special issue, Life’s End: Ethnographic Perspectives, we review the field of anthropological studies of death and dying. We make the argument that, largely because of its sub-disciplining into the larger field of the anthropology of religion, ritual and symbolism, the focus of anthropological research on death has been predominantly on post- rather than pre-death events, on death’s beginnings rather than life’s ends. Additionally, we argue that an anthropological aversion to the study of dying may also lie in the intimacy of the discipline’s principal method, ethnography. Contrastingly, we argue that this very methodological intimacy can be a source of insight, and we offer this as a rationale for the special issue as a whole, which comprises eight ethnographic studies of dying and social relations at life’s end from across Africa, Australia, Europe, and North America. Each of these studies is then summarized, and a rationale for their presentation around the themes of “structures of dying,” “care for the dying,” “hope in dying,” and “ending life” is presented.
The United States military began to experience a steady increase in suicide rates across all service branches at the inception of the wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). As the number of suicide deaths increased, so did the number of affected survivors who seek postvention support. Unique issues that accompany suicide death may expose survivors to a more distressing and complicated grief process. Peer support has clinically been observed to be widely utilized by suicide loss survivors. This article explores unique issues accompanying military suicide loss, potential benefits of postvention peer-based support, clinical considerations, and future directions.
Luxury goods have been shown to help individuals coping with death-related anxiety. However, the extent to which the symbolic value allocated to possessions (i.e., materialism) moderates this effect is still unclear. Here, we investigated the impact of materialism on impulsive approach tendencies toward luxury clothing brands in a context of mortality salience. Results showed that the impact of mortality salience was moderated by materialism with lower impulsive approach tendencies toward luxury clothing brands observed in non-materialistic participants. These findings highlight how materialism values may impact luxury consumption through impulsive pathways in a situation of death-related anxiety.
Parents who experience the death of a child are at high risk for psychopathology. Because a large percentage of pediatric deaths occur in the pediatric intensive care unit each year, a follow-up meeting between bereaved parents and intensivists could provide essential emotional support, although some parents may not attend. The aim of this study was to explore demographic and medical factors that may distinguish between bereaved parents who attend a follow-up meeting with their child’s pediatric intensivist and those who do not. Our analysis revealed that parents of children who died of trauma were less likely to attend a follow-up meeting with an intensivist. It is possible that symptoms of posttraumatic stress play a role in these findings. Enhanced efforts to identify other interventions for this specific subset of bereaved parents may be necessary.
In recent years, the common and mundane dying has begun to take place in the public space of the Internet. Among the blogs about food, fashion, travel, and other joyful aspects of life, blogs about severe disease and dying have appeared. The aim of this article is to describe some characteristic features of a sample of cancer blogs and to discuss them in the light of Zygmunt Bauman’s theory of the rationalization of death in modernity and theories about networked media, especially the theories about “affective labor” and “ambient intimacy” by McCosker, Darcy, and Pfister. It will then be argued that an affective communication is performed in and through these cancer blogs, where not only language but also the deficiencies of language—and what is called shared ineffability—might be valuable and meaningful (although not unproblematic) as part of a late modern approach to death, and in the practicing of the art of dying.
The new technologies have changed the rituals related to death: Creation of memorial webpages and of virtual tombs, celebration of death anniversaries are now common currency on the Internet. In spite of their disappearance among the living, the deceased continue to exist on the Web. They still receive messages from their relatives but also from strangers and are at the heart of discussions, prolonging their presence. New technologies have led to a new concept of time and of “where life ends.” Through the analysis of Facebook’s accounts devoted to Turkish martyrs, this article aimed to describe the new funeral rituals seen on the Internet.
Counseling professionals and graduate students (N = 117) recruited online read a randomly assigned one-paragraph vignette about either a nonrational or rational suicide involving an imaginary loved one. Then, they completed the Grief Experiences Questionnaire (GEQ) about how they would feel. The nonrational suicide group expected significantly more search for explanation than the rational suicide group but was not significantly different on the other six GEQ subscales. All participants expected few distressing reactions to either vignette, suggesting a one-paragraph vignette may not be sufficient to induce the kind of grief many experience when a loved one dies by suicide.
People’s preferences for memorializing loved ones vary and may depend on their personal attitudes and experiences with death. Participants (N = 145) completed the memorializing preferences checklist and measures of personal attitudes and life experiences with death. Factor analysis identified four memorializing preferences. In terms of predicting preferences, greater acknowledgment of death, and having experienced more losses, predicted preference for memorializing through societal tradition, community legacy, and continuing intimacy. Greater death resistance and less closeness to the deceased predicted preference for memorializing through confronting loss. Findings are discussed in terms of the range of preferences for and motivations behind memorializing.
This study aims to elicit the beliefs and attitudes of middle-aged and elderly Moroccan Muslim women toward dying, death, and the afterlife; to identify whether differences are observable between middle-aged and elderly participants and to document how the actual attitudes of our participants relate to normative Islamic literature. Interviews were conducted with middle-aged and elderly Moroccan women living in Belgium (n = 30) and with experts in the field (n = 15). This study reveals that the belief in an omnipotent and omniscient God and in an afterlife strongly marks the attitudes of first- and second-generation Muslims in Belgium toward life and death.
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the association of supernatural beliefs and sense of coherence with death anxiety and death depression in a Romanian sample of cancer patients. We found support for the terror management theory worldview defence hypothesis postulating the presence of a curvilinear relation between death anxiety and supernatural beliefs among cancer patients. Results conformed to an inverted U-shape quadratic regression, indicating that cancer patients who scored moderately on supernatural beliefs were afraid of death the most, while death anxiety was lowest for the extreme atheists and extreme believers in supernatural entities.
Un Prince vient se réfugier au fin fond de la forêt. Il est désespéré de tristesse, de honte et de culpabilité de ne pas avoir été là quand tous ses amis et sa famille se sont faits tuer par leurs ennemis. Il ne peut plus parler, le coeur débordant de chagrin. Le chant d'un grand oiseau va le consoler et lui redonner le goût de la vie.