Contemplating the COVID Carnage at California’s Most Historic Cemetery

Sites Like Forest Lawn Do More Than Bury Our Dead—They Keep the Present in Perspective

If you’re having a hard time processing the scale of death produced by the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. In the face of mass casualties, many of us have chosen the path of denial, embracing conspiracy theories, resisting public health orders, and falling into anger and anxiety.

So let me suggest a healthier alternative to wrapping your mind around this moment’s carnage. Visit the largest, prettiest cemetery you can find. I recommend the original Forest Lawn, the first of the six Forest Lawn memorial parks, a place sprawling enough to …

Will Holograms Help Us Grieve? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Will Holograms Help Us Grieve?

Ready or Not, Digital Afterlives Are Here to Stay

Long before Kim Kardashian West made headlines for being gifted a hologram of her deceased father for her 40th birthday, a panel session at South by Southwest Interactive, an annual …

My Summer at the Graveyard | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

My Summer at the Graveyard

Observing That Final Resting Sites Aren’t Always Quite So Final, KCRW’s Warren Olney Considers What He Wants for His Own Remains

We never heard about “recycling” when I grew up, during the Age of Plastics. But, during one summer off from college, I learned that one form of the practice is …

To Have a ‘Better Death,’ Play With These Cards | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Have a ‘Better Death,’ Play With These Cards

Sandy Chen Stokes Wants Everyone to Talk About Their Own Mortality

How can you get people to talk about what they would like the end of their lives to be like?

Here’s one technique I’ve used: get them to play cards.

For …

Our Favorite Christmas Classic Is Really a Study in American Suicide

It’s a Wonderful Life Delivers a Haunting Treatise on the Religious, Legal, and Economic Implications of Taking One’s Life

Isn’t it a little odd that our most cherished Christmas film is about a man seeking to end his life by jumping off a bridge? Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful …

Why Legislators and Doctors Don’t Always Agree on the Definition of Death

While Patients' Families Think Life Ends With Your Last Breath, 50 States Point to Brain Activity

How can you truly know when someone is dead? Historically, death was determined by holding a mirror up to a person’s mouth to see if they were breathing. But this …