Tag Archives: death

Editorial: On Words (repost)

You’ll have to forgive your self-indulgent author, today. Every year, around this time, I get very maudlin. Part of it is the big change in my life around work that happened a while back, part of it is that lasting sense of “this is when the school year begins”, and part of it is grief.

In my Kaddish article these many years ago, I talk about the Mourner’s Kaddish, a prayer said after the death of one’s parents. It’s spoken daily for eleven months, and then yearly on the anniversary of the death. It’s said in order to ease the burden of grief over time so that it does not remain an overwhelming force in life.

Would that I had the faith to let go. Still, no harm in trying.

So, in that vein, on this anniversary, yit’gadal v’yit’kadash sh’mei raba…

Five years ago, on September 6th, a friend of mine passed away.

I’d not really had all that much exposure to death before that, if I’m honest. My step-adoptive-grandfather died when I was fairly young, and all I really remember out of that was the funeral, and inheriting a small medal he’d won from Colorado State University, something about soil science and geology. After that, I had dream after dream about what winning that medal must’ve been like, walking through some grand oaken hall to receive a pewter medal on a velvet pillow. That I later attended CSU, and that CSU had no oaken halls as in my dreams, always left me vaguely disappointed.

Other than that, my brush with mortality was limited to my grandmother, who passed some time later. The unfortunate part of her passing was that, for years before, she had been deep in a mire of dementia that left her a pallid shadow of her former self. From her, I remember that a lot of our final interactions were beset by confusion, frustration, and tears. “You’re [my mom]’s son, right?” she asked in the airport. She repeated the question seven or eight times, being sure, each time, to comfort herself that the person pushing her wheelchair was someone known to her.

My mom and I had flown out to see her as she got settled into a final stage of her life in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mom flew out to see her one more time before she died, but, after a long talk, it was decided that I would stay home. “I can’t handle it. I can’t be in that role again,” I pleaded, and my mom let me stay with my dad while she flew out of town.

Continue reading Editorial: On Words (repost)

A Second Life

Furry life is real life, kinda.

Ever had a furry friend disappear? That doesn’t happen in real life.

It’s an important event when someone close to you, non-furry, dies. Friends and family gather and mourn and celebrate and reflect on the life of the person they’ve lost. If the deceased was young, people lament the life that will never be lived. If the deceased is old, people talk about the value and brevity of a full life.

Celebrating life and death is important, and it’s something that is often denied to the furry friends of the deceased. Let’s say that I, your humble furry author, slip on some ice on Harleyford Street’s sloping pavement and get struck by an aggressively-driven number 36 bus this Thursday morning. You, gentle furry reader, will probably find out about this over social media a few days later.

Continue reading A Second Life

Editorial: On Words

Three years ago, on September 6th, a friend of mine passed away.

I’d not really had all that much exposure to death before that, if I’m honest. My step-adoptive-grandfather died when I was fairly young, and all I really remember out of that was the funeral, and inheriting a small medal he’d won from Colorado State University, something about soil science and geology. After that, I had dream after dream about what winning that medal must’ve been like, walking through some grand oaken hall to receive a pewter medal on a velvet pillow. That I later attended CSU, and that CSU had no oaken halls as in my dreams, always left me vaguely disappointed.

Other than that, my brush with mortality was limited to my grandmother, who passed some time later. The unfortunate part of her passing was that, for years before, she had been deep in a mire of dementia that left her a pallid shadow of her former self. From her, I remember that a lot of our final interactions were beset by confusion, frustration, and tears. “You’re [my mom]’s son, right?” she asked in the airport. She repeated the question seven or eight times, being sure, each time, to comfort herself that the person pushing her wheelchair was someone known to her.

My mom and I had flown out to see her as she got settled into a final stage of her life in Charlotte, North Carolina. My mom flew out to see her one more time before she died, but, after a long talk, it was decided that I would stay home. “I can’t handle it. I can’t be in that role again,” I pleaded, and my mom let me stay with my dad while she flew out of town.

Continue reading Editorial: On Words

On Doug Winger, and Death

Furry is still young, but we’re all getting older, year by year.

Doug Winger’s death from emphysema last week was notable not only for his cherished and unique contributions to furry, but also for the fact he died from an age-related illness. In this he is, as he always seemed to be, ahead of the curve.

Furry and furries are ageing. In the coming years and decades, age-related illnesses and deaths will cease being rare or notable. If furry became a unique phenomenon somewhere around the late 1970s, then the young adults who founded the fledgling community are well on their way to becoming senior citizens.

Continue reading On Doug Winger, and Death

Mortality

Death is important to us. When a furry dies, we—as a group—react strongly.

Following the death of a furry, there is often an outpouring of grief. Much of that grief is from furries who have never met the deceased.

Here’s the first comment on Flayrah’s news post about the death of Lemonade Coyote (link), a well-regarded but not especially well-known American furry:

I don’t know the guy, but I’m sorry this happened and I’m sorry for his family.

This comment is typical of the sentiment expressed by many furries in this sort of situation. It’s heartfelt, it’s sweet, and it’s clear that the commenter has been personally affected by the death of a stranger. The only thing that our commenter and Lemonade Coyote have in common is that they are both furries.

Continue reading Mortality