Category Archives: death and dying

Black Friday

I am writing this blog on Thanksgiving Day. Tomorrow is Black Friday, a day when many Americans succumb to consumer frenzy and stampeding greed. I never think about shopping on Black Friday. I think about black ice and a semi-truck … Continue reading

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Day of the Dead — in August

On August 8, 1991 my father, Willis Robert McAfee, Jr., died in my arms after a very short illness with pancreatic cancer. I’ve written a lot about that experience in the intervening years — in this blog, song and poetry. … Continue reading

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Death Songs

My friend Jeannie and I are at a Sweet Honey in the Rock concert in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of the group’s founding members, Ysaye Barnwell, steps to center stage and sings what she calls her “death song.” It expresses … Continue reading

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Oh For Goodness Sake – Stand At My Grave and Weep Already!

Death has been visiting my life a lot in this past year. During those times, I have frequently heard Mary Elizabeth Frye’s well-known poem, “Do No Stand At My Grave and Weep.” This morning as I was lolling abed, I … Continue reading

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A Blessing for Entering Hospice

My beloved friend Jim is nearly 92 years old. His mind is sharp and keen though his vision, hearing, and mobility are weaker every day. Jim doesn’t have a major illness. He’s just losing energy and appetite. A few weeks … Continue reading

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A Death is Born Into Your Life

I sat next to R. at a community sing the other night. Her mother died several months ago and she is still in the raw grief of it all. Many of the songs called forth her tears and she looked … Continue reading

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Falling Silent

As a voice coach and singer, I pay unusual attention to voices. I cherish the cadences, rhythms, and sounds that I hear in the voices of my family members and friends. Each one is completely unique. Each one lingers in … Continue reading

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