Showing posts with label Dead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dead. Show all posts

May 11, 2020

Jerry Stiller Dies at 92

Stiller in a 1994 "Seinfeld" episode. Photo: Michael Yarish/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Jerry Stiller, the comedian best known for his roles on "Seinfeld" and "The King of Queens," has died of natural causes, according to an announcement from his son, Ben.
  • "He was a great dad and grandfather, and the most dedicated husband to Anne for about 62 years. He will be greatly missed."

May 10, 2020

Little Richard, Gay and Talented, Dead at 87 From Bone Cancer

        Photos: Little Richard, founding father of rock 'n' rollPhotos: Little Richard, founding father of rock 'n' rollLittle Richard dies at 87: Rock and roll legend called Nashville ...

Stars took to social media to pay tribute to early rock legend Little Richard, who died at 87 on Saturday.
The genre's early days were blessed with outsized personalities – Elvis and his shockwave-generating gyrations, super-slick Chuck Berry and the combustible Jerry Lee Lewis – but none as wild as Richard Penniman. Those remembering him today reflected on the "Tutti Frutti" singer's influence on music as well as his kindness. 
In an interview, Richard's former bass guitarist Charles Glenn, 61, recalled fond memories of playing with the late rock 'n' roll legend and says Richard would've wanted people to be happy right now, to celebrate, not be sad.
"He was always the most loving person at all times. The guy that we saw on TV, that was (him) 24 hours.  People thought it was an act, (but) that was not an act, that was Richard," Glenn says. "I don't think anybody can rock 'n' roll like Richard... he always made sure to entertain you, even if he was just saying 'Hello.' His 'Hello' was the most entertaining 'Hello' you could ever want to have."
Former first lady Michelle Obama honored Little Richard's creativity and wished his family well.
"With his exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself, Little Richard laid the foundation for generations of artists to follow. We are so lucky to have had him," she tweeted. Sending all my love to his family and friends today."
Spike Lee shared a 90's Nike commercial he directed that featured Little Richard.

April 8, 2020

The Dead Don't Know The Difference Between Morgue or Trailer Outside,The Living Do

                         New York City Deploys 45 Mobile Morgues as Virus Strains Funeral ...

In life, Colleen Dilger’s 80-year-old grandmother was “a very social animal” who “never spent a moment by herself.” But the memorial service commemorating Sandra Stein following her death from cancer on March 26 is likely to be a much less social affair.

Due to coronavirus social distancing measures, the funeral home in Buffalo, New York, where the service is being held, is offering only two visitation options: Mourners can either walk past the casket one at a time, or drive by in their cars.

“It feels so incomplete because she always had family around her,” Dilger told me.

Dilger’s experience is quickly becoming the new normal. To help curb the spread of the coronavirus across the country, a number of US states have issued stay-at-home orders and banned gatherings of more than 10 people, including religious services. 

You can’t use ventilators without sedatives. Now the US is running out of those, too.

Thus, funeral professionals and religious leaders now have to weigh a family’s need to mourn and the importance of conducting funeral rituals against both the safety of the larger community and potential legal consequences of violating state orders.

As a result, many funeral homes are severely restricting the number of people allowed to gather for visitations, memorials, and funerals, or offering alternative options like livestreaming. And even when a few close family members are allowed to attend a service in person, they’re often still required to maintain 6 feet of distance between one another at all times.

Which means the coronavirus that has interfered with so much of life is similarly interfering with all aspects of death. “The normal healing process has been disrupted,” Rabbi Elana Zelony of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, Texas, told me.

“The deceased doesn’t know the difference during this period, but the living do”
Memorial and funeral processes have changed in subtle but important ways since the coronavirus struck America.

Jeff Jorgenson owns funeral homes in California and Washington state. He told me that the timeline of services is now longer and the precautions he and his team take are much more thorough, but that most funeral homes still accept the bodies of people who have died of Covid-19.

For example, before the outbreak, Jorgenson would retrieve the deceased by going to a hospital’s security or admitting office and having a staffer accompany him to the morgue. But on a more recent hospital visit, he discovered that the process had gotten a lot more complicated.

“I had to go through screening, and then screening sent me up to admitting. Admitting sent me back to security, where security validated that I had been screened, and then I could go to the morgue,” Jorgenson told me. “It was two extra steps, really, but it added 25 minutes to transferring the person into my care. If you repeat that for three bodies, you’ve added about an hour and a half to your day.”

But that lengthened process only happens if a hospital and a funeral home can arrange a pickup. In New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, that’s not a guarantee.

Already, funeral homes are overwhelmed with the amount of bodies they’re taking. “There is just not enough capacity in the funeral homes in Queens and Brooklyn to handle the number of people dying right now,” Patrick Kearns, who owns the Leo Kearns Funeral Home in Rego Park (a neighborhood in Queens), told the New York Daily News.

When they do pick up a body, sometimes it’s not lying in the morgue, but rather in a refrigerated trailer outside of the hospital. The US government is expected to send 85 additional trucks to the city in the days ahead.

If the deceased’s family can’t arrange a transfer to a mortuary within eight days, New York City officials organize the burial or cremation process. That may include burying the body in a temporary grave in a public park until more space opens up in funeral homes.

For those families who are able to get their loved one transferred to a funeral home, there may still be delays in holding a memorial service. A funeral home in the city can’t hold more than three services a day, which allows staff to clean and disinfect in between families.  

New York City’s funeral situation is much more dire than in most parts of the country, but there are challenges even in less hard-hit areas.

John Wenig, the president of Wenig Funeral Homes in a tight-knit community in Wisconsin, knows almost every client he has — which is why it was so hard for him to tell a woman whose husband died after 60 years of marriage that the funeral home couldn’t provide the services she wanted.

The reason has less to do with capacity than with state and federal guidelines. Basically, touching the body in any way — kissing, handholding, hugging — is highly discouraged to prevent the transfer of Covid-19. The social distancing rules are even more important, since visitations, memorial services, and funerals tend to draw large crowds. With most states restricting gatherings larger than 10 people, it’s impossible to hold such an event.

“That makes it hard on the grieving process for the whole family,” Wenig told me. “The elements of grief that are needed and most appreciated is the closeness of families coming together — the hugs, the kisses, holding each other. That is not happening right now, simply because families need to maintain the 6-foot distance.”

Wenig allows his clients to do small visitations and funerals, but is postponing all large memorial services until the summer at the earliest. “The deceased doesn’t know the difference during this period,” Wenig continued, “but the living do.”

Jorgenson also acknowledged the emotional hardship of these situations, but he is unapologetic about taking the necessary precautions.

“At this point in this pandemic, it’s my responsibility as a funeral professional to my community, and [to] the world at large, to not cause harm,” he said. “And if not causing harm in my community means you don’t get to see your dad ... I’m sorry, this is bigger than you. That goes against most funeral professionals’ core being, but it’s the right thing to do.”
After losing a loved one, millions of Americans turn to their religious communities for support and comfort. But social distancing measures are changing what that support and comfort looks like.

Rev. Bill Parnell, a leader in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, told me that many people in the 175 worshipping communities he helps oversee are struggling with the restrictions social distancing has put on their grieving process.

For instance, a retired priest died from the coronavirus two weeks ago in Cape Cod, leaving behind his wife, who is also infected. The priest’s family couldn’t visit him while he was sick, nor can they attend his funeral service because of travel and space restrictions.

“That’s just heartbreaking,” the reverend told me. “I can’t imagine what that must feel like.” It’s harder because now that church services have moved online — where attendance has actually grown, Parnell said — there’s no physical community to help console the grieving family.

Pastor Rob McCoy leads a communion ceremony after an online Palm Sunday service in Thousand Oaks, California, on April 5, 2020. Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images
Zelony, the rabbi in Texas and the first woman to lead a Conservative movement synagogue in the state, has had a similar experience.

“I’m definitely grateful for the technology, but it’s so awkward,” she told me. “It’s much harder to read the body cues. I can’t hand them a Kleenex or give them a hug.” That bothers her, as “one of my jobs is to give people hope and support.”

Zelony also said that religious burial practices have been disrupted. Jews in the Conservative movement traditionally pour dirt into a loved one’s grave until it covers the top of the casket. That was easier to do when there were 50 to 60 people at a ceremony, she told me, but it’s much harder now, since no more than 10 can attend. “It made me notice the absence of having many community members to help,” Zelony added.

Families also can’t observe shiva, the weeklong mourning period in Judaism, as they did before, Zelony said. During this time, family and friends would normally stop by the home of the deceased’s family to offer food and condolences. But that doesn’t happen in the same way now, when few people are traveling and large gatherings are discouraged. “It’s just not possible in the same kind of way,” the rabbi said. “I’ve seen Jews take comfort in the traditions of mourning, and now they feel cheated.”

Many Muslims feel the same way. Imam Ibraheem Bakeer, from the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City, told me that it’s customary in Islam for friends and family to gather and pray over the body of the deceased. Because of social distancing, that can’t happen — and it’s also why Bakeer is restricting visitations to no more than three people at a time.

Bakeer said he’s faced a lot of backlash for that decision. “It’s very tough, but our job is to convince these people and give them the conviction that we are in a bad situation and in critical circumstances,” he told me. “We can’t do the regular things, and they have to understand this.”

Still, he understands their frustrations. “It’s an emotional thing,” Bakeer said.

The CDC recommends several measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19:

Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
Stay home as much as possible, and do not go out if you are sick.
Wear at least a cloth mask in certain public settings.
Contact a health worker if you have symptoms.

“Death is on everybody’s mind”
Alua Arthur is a “death doula” based in Los Angeles. Death doulas, sometimes called end-of-life doulas, are trained nonmedical professionals who offer emotional care and logistical planning and support to both people who are facing death (often in hospice) and their loved ones.

Arthur provides her clients with companionship and emotional support in their final days, as well as practical help taking care of the myriad administrative tasks surrounding death and estate planning. That support may involve just being a person to talk to or even opening mail when such a thing seems too hard in trying times.

But the coronavirus has upended that dynamic. Instead of being in the home of a client, Arthur uses FaceTime or other technology to stay in touch from home. It’s nowhere near the same, as she struggles to pick up on the nonverbal cues that allow her to do her job the best.

But the hardest part, she told me, is watching her clients and loved ones struggle with the uncertainty of death, especially as the coronavirus rages.

“We have grief compounding grief,” Arthur said. “We have the grief around the type of death that they envisioned that they can’t have, or the type of dying process the family envisioned that they don’t have. We have the grief around what the death could look like, and then we have the actual dying that’s happening, and then the grief around not being able to bury them or memorialize them in the way they wanted.”

She believes this grief is more widespread than most let on. Covid-19’s ubiquity in our lives means “death is on everybody’s mind, when it wasn’t before,” Arthur said. adding that there’s “a sense of, ‘Oh, shit, I might die from this.’”

Countless people now have to get creative in the ways they grieve and mourn.

“It’s hard to find a new ritual and give it meaning,” Arthur told me. “It’s hard because you might have to break the mold [of a traditional memorial and funeral service, which requires] removing judgment about what we’re doing or not doing.”

“This isn’t about thinking outside the box, it’s about creating a whole new box — and that’s hard when we’re anxious and fearful and uncomfortable,” she added.

But whatever form it takes, remembering the ones we love the most may be one of the most important things any of us do during this time.

October 17, 2019

Rep.Elijah Cummings, A Giant in The History of The U.S. Congress, Died This Morning

Rep. Carolyn Maloney will become the Acting Chair of the House Oversight committee following the death of Chairman Elijah Cummings, a senior Democratic leadership aide tells CNN.
“Pursuant to House Rules, Rep. Carolyn Maloney becomes Acting Chair as number two in seniority on the committee. The caucus process to elect a permanent Chair will be announced at a later time.”
The Oversight Committee is one of the panels involved in the impeachment inquiry of Trump

Speaker Pelosi: "In the House, Elijah was our North Star"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is “personally devastated" following the death of Rep. Elijah Cummings, calling him the “North Star” of the House of Representatives.
“He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose," she said.
Here's her full statement:
“The people of Baltimore, the U.S. Congress and America have lost a voice of unsurpassed moral clarity and truth: our beloved Chairman Elijah Cummings. I am personally devastated by his passing. 
In the House, Elijah was our North Star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity, whose stirring voice and steadfast values pushed the Congress and country to rise always to a higher purpose. His principled leadership as Chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform was the perfect testament to his commitment to restoring honesty and honor to government, and leaves a powerful legacy for years to come.
As a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he was always fighting for his district and for the state of Maryland. He was a powerful voice for building the infrastructure of America and creating good-paying jobs. As a Member of the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors, he took great pride in Maryland’s role in our national security.
Chairman Cummings’ story was the story of America: a sharecroppers’ son who dedicated his life to advancing justice, respecting human dignity and ending discrimination. He believed in the promise of America because he had lived it, and he dedicated his life to advancing the values that safeguard our republic: justice, equality, liberty, fairness. 
Earlier this year, Chairman Cummings asked us, ‘When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked: in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?’ May Chairman Cummings’ strength guide us as we carry on his work to honor the oath and protect our democracy.
In the Congress, we will miss his wisdom, his warm friendship and his great humanity. In Baltimore, we will miss our champion. May it be a comfort to his wife Maya, his three children and Chairman Cummings’ entire family that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.” 

Cummings "never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized," Baltimore mayor says

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack,” Young said the city, nation, and world have lost "one of the strongest and most gifted crusaders for social justice" following the death of Elijah Cummings.
"He was, put simply, a man of God who never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized and often forgotten," Young said in a statement.
He continued: "Rest easy, Congressman. We love you and will draw strength by remembering your selfless acts of service and dedication to pursuing equality and basic human rights for all people.”
Here's his full statement:
“With the passing of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the City of Baltimore, our country, and people throughout the world have lost a powerful voice and one of the strongest and most gifted crusaders for social justice.
Rep. Cummings, the son of sharecroppers whose ancestors were slaves, wasn't afraid to use his considerable intellect, booming voice, and poetic oratory to speak out against brutal dictators bent on oppression, unscrupulous business executives who took advantage of unsuspecting customers, or even a U.S. President. He was, put simply, a man of God who never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized and often forgotten.
As we enter this period of mourning, let us remember his long legacy of justice as an example to us all of a life well lived.
Rest easy, Congressman. We love you and will draw strength by remembering your selfless acts of service and dedication to pursuing equality and basic human rights for all people.” 

House chairs remember Cummings: He was "the heart and soul of our caucus"

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler have both tweeted this morning on the death of Elijah Cummings. 
Cummings was the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Schiff called Cummings “the heart and soul of our caucus,” and Nadler said his “presence passion and moral clarity will be missed.”
Here are their messages:

Elijah Cummings was the heart and soul of our caucus, a dignified leader with a voice that could move mountains.

He was our moral and ethical North Star. Now we will be guided by his powerful memory and incomparable legacy.

Rest In Peace, my friend.

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 1 hr 13 min ago

Trump on Cummings: "His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!"

President Trump has just tweeted his “warmest condolences” following the death of Congressman Elijah Cummings.
“I got to see first hand the strength, passion and wisdom of this highly respected political leader. His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace!”

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