Tag Archives: death

The Four Horsemen

By Jim Selman | Bio

I was playing a trivia game and had to answer what the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are. I got three out of four, but had to go to go to Wikipedia to get them all: War, Famine, Conquest and Death. These traditional Biblical symbols mark the ‘end of time’, when all things are put right and presumably all karma is erased and this journey will be complete. In researching each of them, I learned that ‘conquest’ is best translated in today’s language as ‘corruption’

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Goodbye Mimi

By Jim Selman | Bio

This has been a sad week. My partner’s mother died at the age of 94. Even when the end is expected (and perhaps even welcomed after a long period of decline), it nonetheless has a powerful impact on those who cared. All of the clichés aside, there just isn’t much to say to the bereaved other than “I am sorry for your loss.” As we get older, death and dying becomes a larger part of our day-to-day reality as we lose friends and loved ones

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The Real Magic of MIchael

By Jim Selman | Bio

I remember a Harvard Lampoon edition of the New York Post back during the cold war. At the top of the page, ½-inch letters proclaimed the headline: “Russia drops the Big One—World War III Declared”. Right below the enormous NY Post-style 6’’-wide banner was the headline “MICHAEL JACKSON DIES”. It was funny then, but it is not so funny now that he has, in fact, like Elvis before him, become a force of history. I am reminded of the Lampoon as I watch the round-the-clock all-channel coverage following Michael Jackson’s death. It seems to me he is getting more airtime than Sammy Davis, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra all put together. Who else could have pushed the Iranian election crisis to the back burner?

I confess I am of a different generation than the Michael Jackson phenomenon. I have never been to a concert, have not seen most of his famous music videos and appearances, and remain a bit perplexed about the hubbub surrounding his demise. I am learning more about him and his extraordinary career now from posthumous coverage of his accomplishments and am beginning to appreciate his fame and contributions to music and dance. I am sorry to hear of anyone dying so young and am

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Working to Die

The Japanese Labour Board ruled earlier this month that the death in January 2006 of a 45-year-old senior Chief Engineer on the Toyota Camry Hybrid Project was "karoshi" (death by overwork). He had been working more than 80 hours of overtime a month, including evenings and weekends, and making frequent business trips overseas. He died of a heart attack the day before he was to travel to the Detroit Auto Show to promote the hybrid car. Toyota has issued a statement that it would step

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Fear of Dying

By Rick Fullerton | Bio

For much of my life, I have had a private conversation about dying. It began as a young child, probably triggered by overhearing my parents talking about people fighting cancer or other scary diseases. When I was 12 and our family doctor knocked on the schoolroom door, my first thought was that he had figured out I was going to die. I was shocked to discover he had come to tell me my father had died of a heart attack at just 53. I was devastated! Our family survived, mainly due to the strength and resourcefulness of my mother, along with a supportive extended family and local community. As for me, I learned to deal with my fears mainly through my internal conversations. Never as I child did I talk about this secret and only rarely in later life. Yet looking back, it is possible to see how this fear of dying influenced many of my life decisions and shaped the person I am today.

I
got married when I was 21—much too young according to my Aunt Laura!
But my wife and I were anxious to get on with raising a family. No time
to waste seeing the world or pursuing idle interests! In those days of
single incomes and stay-at-home moms, my role was clear and I was
determined to provide for my family. Duty called!

As life’s milestones passed, my conversations about dying changed. At 30, I was apparently in perfect health—no evidence of cancer

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Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump

By Shae Hadden | Bio

There’s a place near Fort McLeod in Alberta that goes by this odd name…the Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump world heritage site …where the indigenous peoples used to lead the buffalo to jump off a cliff. A place where there’s a very finite line between life and death…and where life comes from death. You see, for thousands of years, the native people would use this natural geographical formation to ‘harvest’ these wild animals and feed their tribes each winter.

I’m remembering this place today because I’ve been reminded—not so subtly by being in a car accident—that life is the dash between birth and death. The instant I knew my car was spinning out of control yesterday morning, the only thought going through my head was “I surrender to you, God, for I am not in control”. In that moment, I felt like the buffalo must have felt—as if this was the last spurt in that great dash. As

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Community

I am writing a speech. It is the speech I would give to a college graduation ceremony if anyone ever asked me to give the commencement address. So far no one has. In the speech I am telling the new graduates they are as ‘adult’ as they will ever be and that I don’t really have any answers for them. The world is changing too quickly for me (or anyone in my generation) to presume to know what they will need to know in the future. I am also suggesting that, whatever else defines our respective

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Learning to Let Go

As we grow older, we need to learn new competencies particular to various eras in our life. For example, when we are very, very young, we need to learn the basics of taking care of ourselves, including personal safety, hygiene, dressing, etc. As adolescents, we put together a ‘persona’ that works for us, learn about having relationships, and perhaps begin to explore our sexuality. As we enter the workforce, we learn how to function in a political space, how to compete in productive ways, and

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Narcissism

There has been a lot of general criticism about the self-centered nature of the ‘Baby Boomers’. While visiting last week, my father commented that many of today’s problems are exacerbated by the fact that the Boomers “never lived through the Depression”. In a recent conversation with my son, I found out he has the view that one of the biggest problems of his generation is that they all seem to think the world should be organized

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