Tag Archives: death

Revising my bargain with the deity

Barry Perlman New York, New York, United States   Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash. My parents lived into their nineties. Before they died, they endured years of dementia. Aware of my potential genetic inheritance, I have long harbored a deep dread of what my future might hold. If my curved pinky fingers were inherited […]

Vigil

Terri Erickson Pfafftown, North Carolina, United States Untitled painting by Stephen White. Used with permission.   In a care home in Göteborg, Sweden, my husband’s sister, Jensina, sits vigil at the bedside of their Aunt Astrid, who is dying. She holds her hand, speaks to her as if everything is as it was, the two […]

On the death of a hospital volunteer

Bonnie Salomon Lake Forest, Illinois, United States   Golf course greens were not for you—too quiet.  No cruise ships to sail—too boring.  Retirement held no enchantment for you.  Mask and pills alongside a coffee. Photo by Fawaz.tairou. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Instead, you chose us—  —the motley ER crew—hardly noticed,   gliding through white coats […]

Life lessons from death

Pedro T. Lima Recife, Brazil   Death and Life, 1918. Gustav Klimt. Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria. Via Wikimedia “How would you like to die?” the professor asked without breaking eye contact. I averted my gaze to ponder the question, but no answers came to mind. “I’ve never thought about it. I guess that I would […]

Mozart and Salieri: from Pushkin to Shaffer

James L. Franklin1 Chicago, Illinois, United States La Calunnia La calunnia è un venticello, Un’auretta assai gentile Che insensibile, sottile, Leggermente, dolcemente, Incomincia a sussurar Piano, piano, terra, terra Sottovoce, sibilando, Va scorrendo, va ronzando S’introduce destramente E le teste ed I Cervelli . . .   Calumny is a little breeze A gentile zephyr […]

The Lazarus phenomenon: when the dead return to life

Tom Sewe Nairobi, Kenya   Photo by Günter Valda on Unsplash It is a few minutes after 2 AM. A middle-aged woman lays motionless on a table in a hospital emergency department with tubes protruding from multiple orifices. The relentless cardiac monitor screams its flat-line signal as the code-blue team pants, scrubs clinging to their […]

Death, disease, and discrimination during the construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914)

Enrique Chaves-Carballo Overland Park, Kansas, United States   Theodore Roosevelt, portrait, ca. 1904, Wikipedia Commons, public domain. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1858-1919) President Theodore Roosevelt envisioned an interoceanic canal as indispensable for American “dominance at the seas.”1 An isthmian canal would facilitate rapid deployment of U.S. Navy ships from Atlantic to Pacific Oceans, bypassing the arduous […]

The Portrait of Doctor Gachet

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Portrait of Doctor Gachet, by Vincent van Gogh. June 1890. Private collection. Via Wikimedia. On a spring evening in New York, a portrait is unveiled before a crowded auction room. It pictures an older man wearing a dark blue coat with luminous green buttons. His elbow rests on a red table beside two […]

The man who hated hospital

Emeka Chibuikem V. Enugu State, Nigeria   Our Beautiful Life. Photo by Yusuff Suleiman. 2018. CC BY-SA 4.0. Via Wikimedia. An emergency patient was in critical condition. The staff nurse on duty moved swiftly to attend to him. Then she went to the waiting hall to meet with the patient’s family and asked them why […]

Unfettered grief

Lealani Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Innocence behind the bangs of a child. Innocence by Lealani Mae Acosta. My first glimpse of unfettered grief was through shaggy six-year-old bangs, watching my mother weep, hunched over the toilet and framed by moonlight that cast the pale blue tiles of their master bathroom into darkness. I […]