Author Archives: Carolyn Anna

Death leaves online lives stuck in limbo

NEW YORK (AP) W hen Jerald Spangenberg collapsed and died in the middle of a quest in an online game, his daughter embarked on a quest of her own: to let her father’s gaming friends know that he hadn’t just decided to desert them.

It wasn’t easy, because she didn’t have her father’s “World of Warcraft” password, and the game’s publisher couldn’t help her. Eventually, Melissa Allen Spangenberg reached her father’s friends by asking around online for the “guild” he belonged to.

One of them, Chuck Pagoria in Morgantown, Kentucky, heard about Spangenberg’s death three weeks later. Pagoria had put his absence down to an argument among the gamers that night.

“I figured he probably just needed some time to cool off,” Pagoria said. “I was blown away when I heard the reason that he hadn’t been back. Nobody had any way of finding this out.”

With online social networks becoming ever more important in our lives, they’re also becoming an important element in our deaths. Spangenberg, who died suddenly from an abdominal aneurysm at 57, was unprepared, but others are leaving detailed instructions. There’s even a tiny industry that has emerged to help people wrap up their online contacts after their deaths.

When Robert Bryant’s father died last year, he left his son a USB flash drive in a drawer in his home office in Lawton, Oklahoma. The drive contained a list of contacts for his son to notify, including the administrator of an online group he had been in.

“It was creepy because I was telling all these people that my dad was dead,” Bryant said. “It did help me out quite a bit, though, because it allowed me to clear up a lot of that stuff and I had time to help my mom with whatever she needed.”

David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has had plenty of time to think about the issue.

“I work in the world’s largest medical center, and what you see here every day is people showing up in ambulances who didn’t expect that just five minutes earlier,” he said. “If you suddenly die or go into a coma, there can be a lot of things that are only in your head in terms of where things are stored, where your passwords are.”

For more of this facinating article by PETER SVENSSON of The Associated Press, you can read it here.

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Quote of the Day

BOOK REVIEW: Afterlife Agreements: A Gift From Beyond

Afterlife Agreements: A Gift From Beyond is beautifully written by a bereaved mother of her grief journey.

It is filled with love, inspiration, and the spiritual piece that makes this book so unique. It was very moving to read Chris Mulligan’s journey following the death of her son, Zac. As she wrote about afterlife agreements and contracts we set up with our loved ones prior to birth, my own beliefs were validated, impleted and solidified. The grief process is so very difficult , but to know that our children are still very much a part of our lives can help lessen that grief.

Chris openly shares her “new relationship” with Zac, allowing us to know that their bond remains strong and loving. As the pain of Chris’ grief is journaled, she reminds herself and us that she and Zac set up their contracts for growth and learning. I am grateful Chris Mulligan followed her heart and Zac’s request that she write this book to help all bereaved parents look beyond their pain to the love and lessons that remain.

You can buy the book online at Amazon here.

Six Interesting Facts about Death

Little Known Fact About Death #1 ~
At least one place (in India) doesn’t bury their dead. They leave the dead bodies sitting out to be consumed by vultures.

Little Known Fact About Death #2 ~
In the 19th century, Egypt had such an excess of mummies that they started using them as fuel for trains engines.

Little Known Fact About Death #3 ~
Approximately 100,000,000,000 people (that’s 100 billion!) have died since humans began.

Little Known Fact About Death #4 ~
Queen Victoria insisted that she get buried with the bathrobe of her long-dead husband, Prince Albert. She also took a plaster cast of Albert’s hand with her to the grave.

Little Known Fact About Death #5 ~
A Swedish company called ‘Promessa’ now offers an ecological burial. They freeze-dry your body in liquid nitrogen, then pulverize it with high-frequency vibrations, and then put your powdered remains into a cornstarch coffin. It all decomposes within six to twelve months.

Little Known Fact About Death #6 ~
Maybe people just aren’t comfortable using the word ‘die’. There are more than 200 euphemisms for death, so we don’t have to utter the real words.

Did you know that…

66f3d4e02475296f4b876fa78395be8fJust when you thought you had heard it all we find out that you can buy a replica of Cleopatra’s funeral barge on Second Life, the virtual online world!

From the posting: This ancient Egyptian funeral boat has a carved jet Anubis figure at the front.  It is fully functionable. The driver can sit in the decorated chair and pilot the barge on any open tract of water. While driven, the dark animated flames on the torches will leave a trail.

When still, a flowing fog will play around the base of the ship as it rests in the water. While in motion, the fog will also leave a trail, looking like spooky wakes in the water marking where the funeral barge has passed.  The sheer mourning linnen hanging above the chair is animated to appear moved by a light breeze.

A second passenger can also ride by seating themselves on the long sarcophagus at the back of the barge.  The entire craft is decorated throughout with dark and mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphs and art.

Quotes we love

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. –Martha Washington

A Greener Resting Place

Picture 4

Eckhard Kennerer came up with the concept for Life Art’s cardboard coffins 5 years ago. Three years was spent in developing and perfecting the product, and it was necessary for the product to pass all the relevant safety and regulation checks before it could be used in the industry.

In 2005 the industry (composed of funeral homes and funeral directors) were not at all keen to embrace another cardboard coffin concept. Conventional caskets for the deceased are beautifully polished wood-finished with elaborate handle designs, interiors and fastenings, which are not at all cheap: no wonder funeral directors were well used to hearing from customers “I’d be happy to be buried in a cardboard box!” Ironically, cardboard coffins do not work out that much cheaper than a basic wooden coffin, but there is satisfaction in knowing though that these coffins are made from 90% recycled paper and biodegrade much more quickly in the earth.

They are also suitable for cremation, which makes up 80% of metropolitan funerals, in that they use up a lot less energy. LifeArt is unique not only in that it makes “environmentally friendly” coffins, but also that these containers can be personalised and creative – with artistic images representing the deceased life and interests able to be adorned on the coffin’s exterior. Workers at LifeArt feel that this is a positive, warm and therapeutic way of dealing with an otherwise difficult, traumatic and dark time.

For more information, click on the picture above to watch the video.