October 19, 2007

What's with all the dead people?

I hear that question often, along with getting the look, the look that I just sprouted antlers, when someone finds out about my interests.. So I like cemeteries, funerary history, and forensic pathology leaves me weak in the knees.. So what if I have a large collection of books with the words corpse, funeral, and death in the title? I don't consider myself Gothic. I'm not suffering from a mental illness, or happen to be a serial killer...

I have always been fascinated about what happens when we die.. Where does the energy go? It is simply fade to black, or is there something out there we can't see or experience until we cross that great divide? My father allowed me to be myself and entertain those thoughts. My Dad, and I were birds of a feather.. I remember always watching horror movies with him. He would call me into the room especially when Bela Lugosi was on the TV in his most famous role. Dad was a mystery and horror lover and he instilled that into me. I can still hear him reciting The Raven, or see his copy of Dracula on his bookshelf.

Death, to me is the ultimate mystery.. I don't fear it, or consider it a negative thing. The Victorians were masters, next to the ancient Egyptians, at mourning and putting death front and center. It used to be something that wasn't hushed about, or feared. It wasn't clinical, neat or clean. When a family member died the body was laid out in the family home in the parlor.. hence, the word funeral parlor. Children weren't spared the sight of a dead body. The family was responsible for taking care of their dead. Death was accepted as something natural..

I know there are people out there like me, that are interested in the same thing.. I don't have an outlet for these interests in real life so the internet, including this blog, have become my oasis. It's the place were I can learn and express my interest in death, and the paranormal.

After the death of my parents, I realized how important a mortician's role is. They give the ultimate gift to the grieving, a chance to say goodbye. They do the dirty work. They make the dead presentable. They strive to make them look at peace for the family. Few people know what goes on in the basement of a mortuary, or understand the painstaking process of cleaning and embalming a corpse. It's not fun, and it certainly isn't pretty. Death doesn't work from 9-5 Monday through Friday. It doesn't take vacations. I was grateful to the mortician that took care of my parents. I admired his work ethic and compassion. He made it possible for me to say goodbye to my parents. Have you hugged a mortician today?

These are some of my favorite websites when it comes to death, and dying:
Find A Grave
National Museum of Funeral History
Taphophilia (dot) Com

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