August 30, 2016

The last days of a hiker lost on the Appalachian Trail

She disappeared from the Appalachian Trail in July 2013.  But it took more than 2 years before her body was discovered in October 2015.  Lost for at least 19 days in the Maine wilderness, the 66-year-old died as she had lived: with courage and with grace.
Kathryn Miles tells the story of the last days of Gerry Largay in the Boston Globe ‘When you find my body’

She tore a page from her journal. “When you find my body,” she wrote, “please call my husband George . . . and my daughter Kerry. It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me — no matter how many years from now. Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them.”
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Geraldine Largay survived at least 19 days in the Maine wilderness. George and his kids had always held out hope that, through some miracle, she still might be alive. If it had to be true that she was really gone, they at least wished for a quick death. “It was exactly the opposite,” George says. “That was gut-wrenching. I knew she was one tough cookie; I just didn’t realize how tough she was.”
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EVEN IN HER FINAL DAYS, Gerry Largay worried about what might hurt or inconvenience her family. At her campsite, she had chopped up her credit card and buried the pieces so that no one could exploit it. She kept her driver’s license so that it would be easy to identify her. She neatly stacked her pots and pans and sealed the journal she’d been keeping in a waterproof bag, along with the instructions, George please read. XOXO. She folded her glasses and placed them into a storage pocket on her tent. Then she tucked herself into her sleeping bag for the last time.

In her journal, Gerry wrote that she wanted her family to know she was sorry — that no hike was more important than them. She wrote each of them a long letter, putting into words her gratitude for all they had shared and offering thoughts about how they could move forward.

“They are more than love letters,” George explains. “They are life letters.”

My deepest love to you, Gerry wrote in one of the last of them. And to all my friends. I pray to see you all in heaven. 

 Hiker Gerry Largay-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:17 PM | Permalink

Phoebe remembered

I Found This At My Local Dog Beach Today

 Dog Memorial Beach

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 AM | Permalink

August 22, 2016

"We start at the end and look backward"

Bruce Weber, retiring from obituary writing for the New York Times, writes an Obit for the Obits

Here’s my legacy. A thousand salutes to the departed, something like that. Age range 11 to 104. Cops and criminals, actors and athletes, scientists and judges, politicians and other poobahs. Famous, infamous or as obscure as the rest of us except for one instance of memorable distinction. A man with a mountain named for him, another who hijacked a plane. A woman who changed infant care for the better, another who shot a ballplayer. High achievers who died after long and fruitful lives (Yogi Berra, Ruby Dee, E. L. Doctorow) or whose unanticipated demise (Grete Waitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Carr) demanded furiously quick reporting and writing — and attention on the front page.

Name a profession (Scream queen? Used car dealer? Astronaut? Guru?) or an achievement (Solved an equation? Caught a killer? Integrated a sitcom?) or an ignominious label (Pederast? Con artist? Embezzler?). For whatever reason — AIDS or Alzheimer’s, cancer or a car crash, heart failure or kidney disease, sepsis or suicide — they all went on my watch......

....we start at the end and look backward. There’s some reward in this, in the excavating we do that often unearths interesting, long-forgotten facts....An obituary is, after all, the first last word on a life, a public assessment of a human being’s time on earth, a judgment on what deserves to be remembered. ...getting it right is not easy. And getting it wrong can cause real distress to the already distressed.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:08 AM | Permalink

Bizarre deaths

Death by house inspection - Home inspector killed in house explosion

Clara Bender, 30, was killed in a home explosion on Monday in Omaha, Nebraska.  The home inspector was looking through the house just two days after letting evicted former tenants in to claim their possessions.  The blast was so intense that it left only a pile of rubble where the former house used to be, and shook the surrounding homes off their foundations - including one that caught on fire.  Four homes around the blast scene were so severely damaged that their owners were not allowed to return to them on Monday.  The explosion ruptured a natural gas line, but officials say there was no sign of a leak

The former tenants of the home had been evicted on June 22, and Bender had been working with them to move out their possessions.  Just two days before the blast, Bender let the former tenants back into the home and they finally moved out all of their belongings over the weekend. She returned to the home on Monday to inspect the home and close it up. Bender is survived by her husband and their son

Death by falling bookstore sign  - Book-seller killed by falling sign as she closed the store because it was not properly maintained

Margaret Sheridan, 68, from Blackpool, was closing the Waterstones store she worked at in January 2015 when the large structure crashed down on her as she attempted to lower the roller shutters.  A jury inquest returned a verdict of accidental death but health and safety bosses carried out a full investigation.  The report submitted to the inquest by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the sign fell because the timber holding the screws could 'no longer withstand the loads'.

Death by rock-throwing elephantSchoolgirl, seven, dies in shocking freak accident after an elephant hurls a ROCK at her head

The seven-year-old was having a picture outside its enclosure with her family when the tragedy happened at the zoo in the Moroccan capital Rabat. The female elephant, named Assia, picked up the large stone in its trunk and threw it into the air, hitting her on the back of the head. The youngster was knocked unconscious and died in a nearby hospital after failing to overcome her injuries.

Death by Manure Fumes  - 'Perfect storm' of manure fumes and warm weather kills farmer and 16 cows as they all stand outside in a field

A young farmer and 16 cows died when they were felled by noxious fumes from cow manure. Michael Biadasz, 29, who worked on his father's farm in Amherst, Wisconsin, was cleaning out a football field-sized tank of cow manure when he was found dead ...  Authorities say the young farmer was caught in a 'dome of air' when after 'agitating' the tank before it was to be pumped, warmer air trapped either methane or sulfur oxide fumes and he and the cows were caught in it.  Even though they were outside, the air was 'trapped' and there was nowhere for it to go. 

Death by Kite String - Two children and a man had throats slit accidentally by glass-coated kite strings

The two children will killed as they poked their heads out of car sunroofs.  The young man died when a kite string lodged in his neck causing him to fall off his motorbike.

Kite-flyers use glass-coated strings to bring down rivals’ kites but they frequently inflict injuries.  The Delhi government has now banned glass or metal-coated kite strings.

Death by Flip-flops -  Nevada woman plunges 100 foot to her death from cliff after she tripped over her flip flops trying to take a picture of the Pacific Ocean.

Lorena Barrera, 21, just moved to Southern California from the Reno area. Eager to see the ocean, she went with friends to Point Fermin Park. Wearing flip-flops, she climbed over a 3-foot wall to get a better view so she could take a picture. That was when she tragically slipped and fell to her death. Point Fermin Park in San Pedro has signs warning visitors of the dangers of scaling the wall.

May they all rest in peace.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:49 AM | Permalink