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Thanatology 2200
Carrie Arnold

Trauma, Grief, Children and Families (March 11) Job of the family: support one another Wofelt: developmental task of the grieving family is to become reconciled to the family member’s death Factors that affect grief process: age of surviving family members, relationship of the deceased to the family member, communication and adaptability of the family system, support system presence/absence, personal risk and protective factors of individual, nature of death, spiritual resources Uncomplicated bereavement process for children: sadness, anger, guilt, sleep, irritability, social withdrawal, clinginess, preoccupation, dreams of person, deceased is still present, aggression, regression - Depends on: age, life experiences, emotional health, family and social environment Childhood traumatic grief: death of someone important to child, trauma might be related to separation distress than to the actual event, trauma symptoms interfere with child’s ability to go through the typical bereavement process, mind cannot cope sometimes and “shuts off” Trauma symptoms: re-experiencing, hyper arousal, avoidance Current Trends in Death and Funeral Practices (Feb 25) The Memorial Society: group serves the following- advocacy to protect people through traditional funeral services, provide awareness of various options available, monitors costs and funeral practices, track environmental awareness in the various funeral and cemetery services They also: provide education and information, provide reference materials, provide a telephone resource, and protect the consumer from exploitation during time of vulnerability Green burial: no embalming, no casket, body buried in a natural setting where there are indigenous plants, body is covered with a shroud instead of a container Choices at time of death: who do you call, what container is used for the body, what choices are actually “green” choices, what will be done with the body or ashes Promesa: body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, flash frozen and then shaken to break into small parts Resomation: uses water based alkaline that reduces the body to ash Putting ashes in fireworks, putting them in diamonds Funerals, Cemeteries and Rituals (March 4) Funeral: an organized tie, limited and flexible group, centered response to death involving rites and ceremonies which the body of the deceased is present Ritual: symbolic affirmation of values by means of culturally standard actions Purpose of funerals: sanitary disposal of body, celebration of deceased, beginning of mourning process, reintegration of community without the deceased, reaffirmation of one’s belief system - Provide the human need to do something in the face of death - In a death-denying culture, it is important that the body is viewed because seeing is believing Helpful when you are involved in the death of someone - Information should be gathered about the deceased person and anything involved in the death/aftermath - Cost of funeral - Remember that funerals are for the living and survivors, not for the dead - Survivors and executor of the will may alter prearranged funeral plans made by the deceased - A funeral director cannot proceed with embalming without express permission of the family - Training of funeral directors involves a 2-year program - You need to be a licensed funeral director under supervision Common myths about cremation and burial - 6 feet under: most grave excavations are about 5 feet deep - Only the body is cremated, not the casket: the body is received at the crematorium in a fully enclosed rigid container - Once cremation is complete only ash is left: it takes aggressive mechanical processor to reduce the calcified bone to smaller fragments - There must be 3 days between death and burial/cremation: this is more of a religious belief, not a law - Bodies must be embalmed after death: no legal requirement, but must be done if the body is to be kept for a lengthy visitation and viewing - Anything that goes into the crematorium is disintegrated: some objects survive, some turn to liquid - My final wishes must be honored: your executor has the final say in the disposition of the body - Bodies should not be embodied because fluids leach into water table: there is no negative impact - Cemeteries are a waste of precious land: some cities they are the only green space Near Death Experiences (March 18) Common elements: sense of being dead, looking at own body, peace and painlessness, out of body, the tunnel experience, people of light, being of light, life review, rising rapidly to the heavens “flo
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