Death Filter
  1. On Family Secrets and How We Deliver Bad News

    “She’d have less to worry about if she knew none of these things. But if she knew none of these things, I reason, she also wouldn’t know me.” At LitHub, Rachel Beanland explores whether or not family secrets are ever justified.

    Death
  2. Beneath the black rocks

    An essay on death, loss, and coronavirus: “The same unknown that makes me nurse the thought of my mother’s death, makes me think of the loneliness of everyone who died of the virus…. For decades, for the rest of their lives they will be imagining the last moments of the ones who left them.”

    Death
  3. On the Edge

    Poet Anthony Wilson on loss and grief: “As we say, the memories ‘come flooding back.’ Whoever first said this has a lot to answer for. Sometimes they drip drip drip away at me, in the dark, not a flood at all. Other days (nights) it is a torrent.”

    Death
  4. The Dysfunction of Food

    Kim Foster’s James Beard Award-winning essay weaves together the themes of family, addiction, and fast food into a beautiful (and heartbreaking) narrative.

    Cooking
  5. What I Want to Know of Kindness

    As Devin Kelly recalls the death of his friend’s mom and how that spurred him to reconnect with his own mother, he reconsiders masculinity through the lens of grief and what we learn from suffering.

    Death
    County Kerry, Ireland.
  6. Not Every Pandemic Is the Black Death

    Dr. Eleanor Janega, a Medievalist, dives deep into the history of pandemics and dispels common mistakes about one of the most notorious (and deadly) ones — the 14th-century Black Death.

    Current Events
  7. Eulogy to my mother

    Alex Cochrane writes a eulogy for his mother, who lived a unique and incredible life: “The lives of both my parents wildly oscillated between disaster and triumph – a drunken lurch between palace and dosshouse.”

    Death
    Photo via adcochrane
  8. What Does It Mean to Stand Up

    Tara Williamson reflects on the lives of Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie and on how Canada’s systemic dehumanization of Indigenous people led to their needless deaths.

    Commentary
    Jade Tootoosis (Photo credit: Edmonton Journal)
  9. “Everyone around you . . . they’re all experiencing the collateral damage of living. They are all grieving someone, missing someone, worried about someone.”

    Death
  10. “…Larry grabbed me and asked if I would be writing about him. I told him I could if he wanted me to, but only if he wanted me to. Tears suddenly sprang to his eyes and he said, “As long as you make it beautiful. Because it was. The whole thing. Even the hard parts.”

    Death
  11. Who We Are: A Letter to The Shrine

    Battling her own cancer and in the throes of chemotherapy, Denise Archer used a late friend’s clothing to make quilts for the children she left behind. “Some of your mom’s hair is inside,” I told them.” “Also, if you breathe in deeply, you can smell her.”

    Death
  12. The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Perfume

    Sometimes it takes a touch of darkness (from the “glandular sacs of dead musk deer” to particularly putrid flowers) to create something alluring.

    Culture
  13. Why I Owe Everything to Jonathan Gold

    “Being a food writer is the most punk rock thing a person can do, and Jonathan Gold was the most punk rock of us all.” Javier Cabral pays homage to the legendary Los Angeles food writer, who was both his mentor and his role model.

    Current Events
    Illustration by Joaquin Hernandez
  14. What Is the Most Nostalgic Song of All Time?

    “A simple question, posed at eight o’clock on a Saturday night. I got 5,000 comments back.” At the Village Voice, Mikel Jollett writes on music’s power to evoke memory and a sense of loss.

    Commentary
  15. Ann Patchett on Philip Roth

    On Philip Roth’s death: “Now Roth has made the same mistake. He’s no longer here to represent his body of work. It’s up to us to keep reading the books. They are not of this time. They will offend a lot of people. They are some of the very best books I have ever known.”

    Authors