July 28, 2017

"Zero risk is a fantasy"

French philosopher who wrote book on risk-taking dies rescuing children

 Anne Dufourmantelle

Anne Dufourmantelle entered the water at Pampelonne beach near St Tropez on 21 July after the children got into difficulty. Witnesses say she immediately tried to reach them but was swept away by a strong current. Attempts to resuscitate her after she was recovered failed, according to local media reports. The children were later rescued by lifeguards, unharmed.
French culture minister, Françoise Nyssen, said Dufourmantelle was: 'a great philosopher, a psychoanalyst, she helped us to live and think about the world today.'

'Life begins with risk': A great mind on why 'zero risk is a fantasy'

In 2015, she told French daily Liberation that the idea of a life with 'absolute security - like "zero risk" - is a fantasy.
'When there really is a danger that must be faced in order to survive, as for example during the Blitz in London, there is a strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself,' she said. 'It is said: 'to risk one's life', but perhaps one should say 'to risk life', [because] being alive is a risk,' Dufourmantelle added. 'Life is metamorphosis. It begins with this risk.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:08 PM | Permalink

July 26, 2017

Why Death Positivity Needs to Reframe Cancer Talk

Funeral director Caleb Wilde discusses the problem with using warrior language to describe struggles with cancer

This week we were informed that Senator John McCain was diagnosed with malignant glioblastoma.  The median survival for patients with malignant glioblastoma is 14 months, while roughly 10% of those diagnosed live up to five years. John McCain is the definition of brave.

It only makes sense that we’d use such language for a warrior such as John McCain, but, oddly enough, when it comes to cancer, most of us default to war language for the stay-at-home mom who has breast cancer, for the auto-mechanic with lung cancer, for the construction worker with skin cancer.
There are a couple problems with this cancer language, problems that need to be informed by death positivity.  When we start from the basis that we are mortal, war metaphors start to fail because mortality is our lot, it’s a part of who we are and fighting against this aspect of ourselves leads to this fragmentation, where we assume that death is something other than us, something that is foreign, something that needs to be battled, something that we need to fight against.  We are both alive and mortal and instead of seeing our mortality as foreign, the better way and the better language is to see our mortality as part of our journey. We are journeying through cancer treatment, we are still living our life amidst our sickness, we aren’t letting cancer define us, nor are we letting “the battle” define us.
It’s okay to stop the treatment, not because we’re “giving up the fight” but because we recognize that we’re mortal.  You’re not “losing the battle” when you have terminal cancer and you decide to forego further treatment.  In fact, sometimes the brave act is in accepting the future, accepting the terminal prognosis and deciding to live your life to the fullest sans the body breaking treatment of chemo and the rigors of doctors visit after doctors visit.  If we use the journey language, we recognize that it’s not about who lives the longest, but who lives the best.  It’s about the best journey, not the farthest journey.  It’s about living life to the fullest, not living forever.  The language of journey reframes our understanding and it takes away the shame and possible guilt one might feel if we use terms like “losing the battle” and “giving up.”  You are not “giving up” if you decide that it’s best to stop your treatment, it could be said that you’re bravely living your journey.

Finally, if you die of cancer, you didn’t lose.  This idea that you’re somehow a loser if you die from cancer is perhaps the biggest problem with war language.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:29 PM | Permalink

July 24, 2017

Why she secretly buried her husband in the backyard

Wife of cop killer mobster harbored him in secret room for a decade before he died of a stroke and she was forced to dig him a shallow grave in her backyard

 Lillian&Donald Webb
Lillian and Donald Webb

Last week, the wife of a mobster who murdered a police chief 37 years ago told the FBI she had to dig him a shallow grave in her backyard after he died while hiding out in a secret room at her home. Donald Webb was  accused of killing Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, police Chief Gregory Adams during a traffic stop 37 years ago. He was on the FBI's 'Ten Most Wanted Fugitives' list from 1981 to 2007.

In a separate investigation into an illegal gambling operation, Massachusetts state police detectives obtained a search warrant for Lillian Webb's property.  They found a secret room and a cane that suggested Webb had lived there.  Thereupon, the police chief's widow filed notice of an intent to sue Lillian Webb and her adult son unless they revealed Donald's location. .

Mary Ann Jones (the remarried widow of the police chief) agreed to drop her claims after Lillian Webb agreed to tell authorities where her ex-husband was buried.

Lillian Webb told the police she had hidden Donald Webb for almost ten years after he went on the run in 1980 following the shooting of Adams. Webb was staying in a secret hidden room in Lillian's home when he suffered a stroke in 1999.  Realizing her husband was dying, she knew she would have to dig a grave in her back yard in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

'She said she started working on it in the nights, a little at a time. It was winter and she said it was hard to dig through the frozen soil, but it was a shallow grave, about three feet deep,'  On Dec. 30, 1999, Webb died, his wife told investigators. She put his body into a plastic tub, pushed it down three steps, dragged it into the backyard 'and dumped his body into the hole.'

A widow gets answers, 37 years later:

The widow of the murdered police chief Mary Ann Adams Jones went on with her life, working and raising her sons and, ultimately, remarrying.  She said she learned to live with the lack of resolution, the nagging mystery surrounding her husband’s murder, the unanswered questions.
Then, in April, she received a telephone call from the FBI, saying the case had taken a turn; the secret room had been discovered in Mrs. Webb’s home.
Saxonburg police Chief Greg Adams didn’t go down without a fight. In fact, in the words of police, he “fought like a lion.”  The 31-year-old husband and father of two was shot in broad daylight Dec. 4, 1980, but before he died, he had nearly bitten off the lip of his assailant and had broken the man’s left leg in at least two places. That assailant — Donald Eugene Webb of North Dartmouth, Mass. — was so badly injured, he required a month of hospital care and, until his death, walked with a limp.

“When [the police told me] Greg gave him a compound fracture and just about bit off his lip, I was glad. I was glad to hear he fought as hard as he did. That the only way Webb was going to stop [Greg] was to shoot him dead. That’s the man I remember marrying,” she said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:36 PM | Permalink

July 21, 2017

The continuing impact of Personal Legacy Archives

'I'm going to watch it a million times':

 Dave Pantinella+Sister

Dave Patinella, 44, of Long Beach, California, and his sister Gina Rae Witt, 43, lost their father Guisto Patinella, in 1994 from cancer at age 63. Back in 1971, Guisto had recorded a commercial for Allstate Insurance, but his children had never seen the video. As a wedding present to her brother, Gina contacted Allstate to find the video, and they managed to track it down on an old reel of footage. The company then filmed the siblings' touching reactions to 'seeing' their father for the first time in 20 years

Days Before He Died, This Teen YouTube Star Left Behind A Video That's Inspiring Millions

Ben Breedlove was the kind of kid everyone wanted to be. But he had a heart condition that he knew could make every day his last. What he did with his final days inspired millions.

 Ben Breedlove2

Je suis le bebe (link to YouTube video with English subtitles)

 Francine Christope

Francine Christophe was only eight when she was sent with her mother to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.  She tells a wonderful story about a piece of chocolate that concludes some 60 years later.

Heartbreaking Story Of A Man Who Took A Polaroid Every Day For 18 Years Until The Day He Died

The project began on March 31st, 1979, when the native New Yorker (and then a college student) took a single photograph. He then took a picture every day for the next 18 years, a tradition he maintained right until the day he died in 1997. Armed with a Polaroid SX-70, Livingston went about documenting every facet of his daily life, from friends, family and relationships, to his job as a filmmaker and photographer and the everyday happenings on the streets of New York.

The latter stages of his project became more introspective as he documented his battle with cancer following his diagnosis in 1997. ..Jamie left behind a project comprised of over 6,000 pictures, and in them, he left a truly remarkable life portrait unlike any other.

'If you are reading this, I have passed'

After Mitchell Whisenhunt, 26, of Longview, Texas died from complications due to Marfan's Syndrome, his wife, Ashley Whisenhunt, discovered 30 letters  he left behind for both her and their young daughter. She says the most special letters, however, are addressed to their 1-year-old daughter, for which there are letters each year from ages two to 18. Now they will open one on every birthday and anniversary after he died, so Mitchell will continue to live on in their lives.

Dying of Cancer, Beth O'Rourke' Did a ‘Magnificent’ Thing Before Her Funeral That’s Touching Hearts Far Beyond Those She Loved

Those who knew Beth O’Rourke said the Massachusetts wife and mother of two — who died last week after a seven-year battle with cancer — was nothing if not a big-time planner. Her husband Brendan said, "Beth liked to plan everything. She planned the funeral. She planned anything you can think of. She didn’t want the burden on her family.”  She wrote her own obituary

“I died Thursday, April 16, 2015 surrounded by family, in the arms of my husband and anam cara, Brendan Patrick O’Rourke.  I was 44 years old. I was a survivor. I was blessed in this life with two amazing children; Courtney Elizabeth age 11 and Seamus Brendan aged 8....

“I LOVED my life,” Beth added. “I loved a long run, to sit quietly by the lake, to read and dance and sing and be silly with our children. We loved watching summer storms blow across the water. I loved to chat and laugh with my sisters and friends, until tears ran down our legs! Brendan and I enjoyed many trips together, most enjoyable were those to Ireland, visiting family to share a pint and some good 'craic'.”....Of all the things I did in this life, nothing compared to being with Brendan and our children. I fought every day to stay alive and to be with them. No person could ever ask for a more loving and supportive husband, always my champion, always. I enjoyed every moment we shared; the great ones, the sad ones, the easy and the hard.

But cancer does not care who it takes, who it hurts, or honor or love. It comes into your life and starts to break the threads that hold you and you are left to see pieces of yourself slip away and dreams fade. We were clung only to each other with pure love and faith binding us, in the end is when the most amazing thing happens, cancer loses its strength and grace appears. We need to see it. We accept it, and go with it. Grace and love win, not cancer. ....

Beth ended her obituary with, “Forgive someone today and fill that spot with love.”

Sometimes, someone else captures what you can not.

Heartbreaking video of father singing ‘Blackbird’ to his dying newborn son just days after his wife, 30, died in her sleep

During the pregnancy, Ashley would often feel Lennon moving to music so Chris asked if he could bring his guitar into the NICU and play for his dying son. Lennon James Picco was delivered by emergency C-section at 24 weeks after Chris' wife Ashley unexpectedly and tragically passed away in her sleep. Musician Chris Picco singing Blackbird to his son,  .  Hours after Chris tenderly serenaded his baby son, Lennon died, aged just four days...
"I have been so blessed and honored to love him before he was formed, to cherish him while mommy carried him, meet him face to precious face, and hold his perfect little body while we said "goodbye for now".

 Chris Picco Sings Blackbird

James Wright Foley was a freelance war correspondent during the Syrian Civil War when he was abducted by ISIS in November, 2012, in northwestern Syria.  He remained a captive until he was beheaded in August 2014. Because he American, he was not allowed to send any letters so he asked a fellow hostage, a Danish photojournalist who was due to be released to commit his letter to memory.  Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye Ottosen, 25, spent 13 months imprisoned alongside Foley and, when released, his first call was to Foley’s mum Diane, when he dictated the lengthy letter to her.

Parents of James Foley release the heartbreaking and hopeful final letter he sent home

In his final words to the ones he loved, James Foley thanked his family for getting him through his almost two year hostage ordeal, saying the memories of home 'takes me away and happiness fills my heart'. He mentioned every family member  - his mother, his father and his grandmother, who he was very close to, his brothers and his sisters and his nieces and nephews. He ended on a hopeful note by saying he’d be there for his sister Katie’s wedding.

‘He said he loved them all and he knew they loved him and were praying for him and fighting for his release. "I know you are thinking of me and praying for me. And I am so thankful. I feel you all especially when I pray. I pray for you to stay strong and to believe. I really feel I can touch you even in this darkness when I pray."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:15 PM | Permalink

July 18, 2017

"You Can't Give In"

Monty Williams is an American retired professional basketball player and coach and vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs. He was the head coach for the New Orleans Hornets / Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2010 until 2015. 

I rarely follow professional basketball, so what I know of him I learned only after the funeral of his wife Ingrid.


After reading, this article in Sports Illustrated, I've become mightily impressed.  Monty Williams Stares Down Tragedy 'You Can't Give In':

The death of Monty Williams's wife has taught the former NBA coach two lessons:
the beauty of forgiveness and the need to move on, no matter how painful that might be.
The morning of Feb. 9, 2016, began like so many others. Monty awoke at 7:00, still groggy from the previous night’s flight back from Phoenix, where the Thunder had beaten the Suns. Ingrid was already downstairs, conquering the morning. They’d been together 26 years, through five kids and eight cities, and he remained in awe of her. While many NBA wives contracted out the more mundane duties of parenting, Ingrid would not consider hiring a cook, a cleaner or a nanny. On game nights she bundled up the kids and brought them to the arena, but only after their homework was done. Then, at the end of the first quarter—sharp—they’d file out, because Dad may be an NBA coach, but nothing overrules bedtime.

On this morning Ingrid was out the door by 7:15, trailing five clean, neatly attired Williams children between the ages of five and 18, all of whom unfailingly addressed adults as Sir and Ma’am. She spent the rest of the day driving from this day care to that high school to this basketball practice to that doctor’s appointment, in addition to making her regular stops at the church and the center for inner-city kids, where she volunteered.

Later that night, Williams received the phone call. A little after 8 p.m., Ingrid was driving north on a four-lane road in downtown Oklahoma City in the family’s SUV with Faith, then 15; Janna, 13; and Micah. A sedan driven by a 52-year-old woman named Susannah Donaldson approached from the opposite direction. During the preceding hours, toxicology reports would show, Donaldson had taken a substantial amount of methamphetamine. Police also believe she may have been cradling a dog on her lap
Monty clung to the fact that the children all survived, and without life-threatening injuries. For a while it seemed Ingrid might too, but the following afternoon she slipped away, at the age of 44.

The Funeral

 Montywilliams Funeral Of His Wife-1

Monty focused on just making it through the memorial service, on Feb. 18. Then maybe he’d take the kids and bolt to some state where no one knew him. Wyoming. South Dakota. Just hunker down and disappear.
First, though, he had to survive the week. He wished Ingrid were there. She’d know what to do. She always had.
“Everybody’s praying for me and my family, which is right,” Monty said, left hand jammed in his pocket like an anchor. “But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well.” He paused. “That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife.

“Life is hard. It is very hard. And that was tough, but we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family, and we”—he made a circling motion with his right hand, indicating the whole room—“as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family because they grieve as well. So let’s not lose sight of what’s important.”

Not long after, he wrapped up with a simple message: “And when we walk away from this place today, let’s celebrate because my wife is where we all need to be. And I’m envious of that. But I’ve got five crumb-snatchers that I need to deal with.”

Monty paused as some in the crowd chuckled. “I love you guys for taking time out of your day to celebrate my wife. We didn’t lose her. When you lose something, you can’t find it. I know exactly where my wife is.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:08 PM | Permalink

The purpose of a funeral in the Christian tradition

When funeral sermons fail, a review of Speaking of the Dead by Russell Salzman

". . .how does death serve God's purpose? The answer -- biblically and theologically -- is it does not. This is why God must promise to restore all that death claims. The promise of God is to destroy death, the final enemy of God's creation. There is the Good News. But it must be said so we can hear it in our lowest moments. It must be spoken at a funeral."

 Catholic Funeral

An interview with Russell Saltzman, author of Speaking of the Dead, When We All Fall Down, which was written when he was still a Lutheran pastor before he entered into full communion with the Catholic church in 2016.

I wanted to pay tribute to some memorable people to whom I was pastor, their last pastor. The funerals are categorized — children, atheists, nice old ladies, others. But each includes a biography of the person, to the extent I knew it, and the funeral sermon as it was delivered. And each reflects my notion that every Christian life (even for the non-Christian) reveals to us something of the Gospel. That’s what I fish for in the death of the Christian, the proclamation of the Gospel as ordinary people lived it, sometimes in ways they never imagined. Also there are essays on death and dying; my distaste for the “death awareness movement,” and my opinion on what the funeral sermon should say, and what it should not. I had started on the book in 2010, and stalled. I was able to resume work only after the deaths of my parents.
Death is a hard thing to look at. Christian pastors must not, cannot treat it as a “celebration of life,” just another phrase for denial. Death is the penalty for being human, our reality. And without saying that bluntly, we have no real opportunity to grasp the the equally blunt wonder of resurrection. We must be able to say “as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all rise.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:18 PM | Permalink

A brighter outlook on burials in Guatmala

 Colors Of Chichiastenango By Stacy
Colors of Chichicastenango by Stacy

Chichicastenango Cemetery

On a hill that is rarely touched by tourists, one of the most colorful cemeteries in the world is hidden in plain sight. Steeped in Mayan tradition, the vibrant rainbow of pigments celebrates the afterlife, and can symbolize different family roles, like a color-coded clue to the puzzle of the dead.

Many tombs are colored based on the person’s family status. Tombs may be painted white to represent purity; graves of mothers are painted turquoise for protection; grandfathers are marked in yellow to indicate that the golden sun will protect humanity. Other graves break this more traditional mold, painted in lime green or red or the favorite color of the deceased.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:00 PM | Permalink

"The confusion is ours. The patient knows what is going on.”

Why the Dying See Their Deceased Relatives Before They Go

I read and heard story after story of men, women and children on their deathbeds who saw their dead mothers, fathers, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends. The same is true with people who experience “near-death experiences.”

The logical response to this phenomena is that lack of oxygen and the consumption of various drugs can do crazy things to the brain. As we neared the last days of my mom’s life, I so wanted to understand what she was feeling and seeing. The day before she took her last breath I decided to ask her.

According to David Kessler, author and expert on death and dying, the following things often happen when a person is about to die:

  • The dying are often visited by their dead mothers.
  • Their hands often reach up toward a force that can’t be seen. (My mom did this)
  • Family members and friends of the dying can’t see their visions or participate in conversations.
  • Visions often occur hours to weeks before they die.
Maggie Callanan, a hospice nurse for more than 27 years, has helped more than 2,000 dying men and women in their last days, explains, “People think it’s just confusion or the drugs. But frankly, the confusion is ours. The patient knows what is going on.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:39 AM | Permalink

"After 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm."

Melting glacier reveals Swiss couple who went missing 75 years ago

The mummified remains of a Swiss Couple (Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin) who went missing 75 years ago and who were found in a glacier in the Diablerets mountains, in southern Switzerland. The perfectly preserved bodies lay close to each other, with at their side backpacks, a bottle, a book and a watch.

""They were perfectly preserved in the glacier and their belongings were intact.We think they may have fallen into a crevasse where they stayed for decades. As the glacier receded, it gave up their bodies," said Bernhard Tschannen, director of Glacier 3000.

Marcelin Dumoulin, 40, was a shoemaker, while Francine, 37, was a teacher. They left five sons and two daughters
on that August day in 1942 when they went to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin in the Valais canton.

 Chandolin Swsuisse
Chandolin in south-western Switzerland. The bodies of Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin were found 75 years
after they went missing in the meadows above the village.

Their youngest daughter Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, now 79, said in an interview:

"We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day. ...It was the first time my mother went with him on such an excursion. She was always pregnant and couldn't climb in the difficult conditions of a glacier."

"I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.... For the funeral, I won't wear black. I think that white would be more appropriate. It represents hope, which I never lost."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:30 AM | Permalink

July 13, 2017

Killed by the whale he saved

Beloved fisherman who dedicated his life to saving whales is killed by one after he rescued it from tangled ropes

Joe Howlett, 59, was killed Monday in the waters of his New Brunswick, Canada home of Campobello Island, as he used his expertise to assist authorities in the rescue of a North Atlantic right whale. Howlett had successfully rescued over two dozen whales caught in lines over the past 15 years, his friends said.

 Joe Howlett Canadian Fisherman

"He is a very knowledgeable fishermen, and who better to do disentanglements than a fisherman who knows the knots and the ropes and the gear?' Jerry Conway of the Canadian Whale Institute told the Canadian Press. "He was a hero, he knew he was putting his life on the line with a 70-ton whale that is upset … trying to deal with a wild animal. "
It's unclear exactly what led to Howlett's death, but the massive whale apparently made a sudden movement during the rescue. 'They got the whale totally disentangled and then some kind of freak thing happened and the whale made a big flip,' said Mackie Green, who co-founded the Campobello Whale Rescue Team with Howlett in 2002.

Fisherman who died saving whale saw rescue as a duty

Monday was just another day at work for Howlett.  When he left Campobello, an island off the Maine coast in the Bay of Fundy, he planned to guide a research team surveying the increased number of right whales showing up in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.....They were all aboard the Shelagh, a vessel owned by the Canadian Whale Institute, and Howlett was captain. Depending on the weather, he expected to stay out another three or four days, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans asked for his help disentangling a North Atlantic right whale last week and another whale on Monday.

Typically, a vessel will back off immediately after a rescue because whales do respond in seconds to being set free, his friend Jerry Conway said. It can take hours to disentangle some of the whales. While they are entangled they can't move very much, which makes it easy to work with them. 

 Entangled Whale
Entangled whale that Joe Howlett rescued in August, 2016

 Howlett-Freeing Whale 2016

Joe Howlett freeing whale in August, 2016

The team received their training and equipment from the Department of Fisheries in Halifax, including being given a 26-foot, high-speed zodiac boat, which they use to travel across the Bay whenever they were called to a rescue. Rescuers are faced with all kinds of dangers, Conway said, including getting entangled in rope themselves, being dragged over the side of the boat, or being tipped into the water if a whale throws itself around and upsets the boat.

Howlett, who co-founded the Campobello rescue team in 2002, felt a responsibility to save whales and was always thrilled when he could disentangle one from ropes. "Once he finished the cut, and the rope fell away, you couldn't find a man more excited and happy than Joe for having accomplished this, and seeing the whale swim away free," said Conway, a friend for 18 years.

May his widow, his two sons and his Campobello friends find some small consolation that Joe Howlett died doing what he loved.    May he rest in peace.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:55 PM | Permalink

July 11, 2017

Back from the brink

Just five years ago she was preparing to die at Dignitas. Now Janka's fighting fit - and in love:

 Janka Penther Back From Brink

Janka Penther was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was six weeks old. Doctors told her she would die by 21, and at 30 she found herself in a dark place. "My lungs were giving up - I had 11 per cent lung function. I couldn't walk from the sofa to the kitchen. I knew if I had a coughing fit I would collapse and might never get up again. Every day was a battle I thought I'd lose."...'I was 30 but living like an 80-year-old...housebound, breathing through an oxygen mask attached to a tank beside my sofa. It felt like trying to breathe through a tiny straw."
When she was finally unable to walk and relied on a tube in her stomach to eat, she was deemed a suitable candidate for a double lung transplant - and after she'd spent just three weeks on the waiting list, a donor was found in April 2013.  Within 24 hours of arriving at Harefield Hospital in West London, she was out of intensive care and breathing on her own.  'I can't describe how magical that was,' she says, tears filling her eyes. 'My mum was crying, I was crying. Suddenly, it wasn't an effort to breathe any more.

Janka, who had never dared to think beyond the next six months, could now plan for the future. A year to the day after her transplant, she ran her first 5km race. She started swimming, surfing and running again. Last month she completed a 20-mile assault course and on Saturday she travelled to Malaga, in Spain, to compete in the 50m freestyle swimming event at the World Transplant Games.

Personally, too, her life has been transformed. She met Rob, a chef, in January and moved to Oxfordshire to live with him. They plan to buy a house of their own and open a café, and are even thinking about having a family. Although pregnancy would be too risky for her health, Janka has considered fostering and adoption.
'Some days I can't believe it,' she beams. 'I'm still on medication - I take about 50 tablets a day to stop my body rejecting these lungs - but for the first time, I'm happy."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:56 AM | Permalink

July 10, 2017

Bizarre deaths

These short tales of unexpected and unforeseen deaths are to reinforce the truth that we never know when death will come to us and so we should be prepared to die at all times.  May their family and friends, faced with sudden and grievous loss, find consolation.  May all of the victims rest in peace.

Teacher and his girlfriend, 22, drown when their car rolls into a Russian lake while they were having sex

Evgeny Chernov and Yana Kryuchkova, both 22, drove to the side of a lake before having sex. The car had been left in 'neutral gear', but their passionate movements jolted the Niva so it edged forwards into the lake near Elan and rolled into the water.  The 22-year-olds could not escape from their Russian-made Niva as it sank, and they drowned on the vehicle's back seat.

Girl, 11, is electrocuted to death in front of her friends after touching the rail of a boat lift while swimming in a lagoon in an inflatable raft

Kayla Matos from New Jersey was swimming with her friends on Saturday when she touched a boat lift that was apparently electrified and was  electrocuted. First responders tried to resuscitate her but she died in hospital that evening.

French fitness blogger, 33, is killed by exploding whipped cream dispenser

The explosion hit her in the chest and gave her a heart attack. Rebecca Burger's family announced her death on social media, where she has amassed a following of more than 200,000 with her fitness focused posts.

Father-of-nine fitness fanatic, 48, dies after running 5k race in 107F heat

Benjamin R. Greene, a 48-year-old lawyer and father-of-nine from Bakersfield, collapsed shortly after he finished a 5k race on Tuesday night.  Temperatures were as high as 107F as the local attorney took part in the Bakersfield Track Club event. An off-duty firefighter performed CPR but he died at a hospital about 8:30pm.

British free runner, 17, died from 'catastrophic' head injuries after sticking his head out between the carriages of a Paris Metro train to take a SELFIE

Report from the Inquest. Nye 'Frankie' Newman, 17, from Aldershot, Hampshire, had traveled with his girlfriend, Nicole Tunnell, and a group of friends to the French capital for Christmas. The teenagers were on the Paris Metro traveling to a New Year's Eve fireworks display at the Eiffel Tower when one friend unlocked one of the carriage's adjoining doors. Nye, a talented daredevil who enjoyed freerunning all over the world, then made a 'stupid decision' to climb out onto the wiring  between the carriages and was struck by an object when he popped his head up for a moment.

Girl, 17, died when she bungee jumped off a bridge in Spain without being tied to the ledge after an instructor with 'very bad English' said 'no jump' and she thought he said 'now jump'.

Vera Mol had a rope attached to her, but it wasn't tied to anything else when she took part in the popular adrenaline-fuelled activity on the bridge of Cabezon de la Sal in Cantabria back in 2015. Her instructor told her, 'no jump', but his pronunciation was so bad the teenager thought he had said 'now jump' so she leapt to her untimely death.

Man shot by pregnant girlfriend while holding an encyclopedia over his chest in attempt to get YouTube fame.

"Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever," tweeted Monalisa Perez, 19 "HIS idea not MINE."  Pedro Ruiz III, 22,  died from a single gunshot wound to the chest when the book did not stop the bullet.

Family and friends told US media that the death was an accident. They said Ruiz had been talking about performing the stunt for some time but they had tried to talk him out of it. "I said, 'Don't do it, don't do it,'" Claudia Ruiz, the man's aunt, told local TV station KVLY, adding that his response was, "We want more viewers."

Contractor, 56, is 'scared to death' during 'despicable' armed robbery

'There was a certain vileness, a certain despicability about the whole thing because... you had an instance where the victim was scared to the point of death,' Police Chief Mike Koval said. '(The robbers) allowed the man to languish and subsequently to die while they handed themselves the greater priority of getting into the safe and getting the filthy lucre, or what I call blood money, and then left.

Famed DC restaurateur, 74, chokes to death while dining at a steakhouse

Jeffrey Gildenhorn, 74, the owner of American City Diner in Northwest Washington and a former Mayoral candidate, was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Struck by falling bullet fired into the sky during pre-July 4 celebrations

Noah Inman was playing basketball on July 1 when he suddenly fell to the ground in Hammond, Indiana. Witnesses called an ambulance, thinking he'd suffered a seizure. But hospital workers soon discovered he'd been hit by a falling bullet.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:38 AM | Permalink

Manly Last Words

From the Art of Manliness, The Ultimate Collection of Manly Last Words

During the Battle of Guadalcanal, Private Ahrens was mortally wounded while single-handedly fighting back a group of Japanese soldiers attempting to infiltrate Allied lines. After his superior officer discovered him the next morning surrounded by dead Japanese troops, Ahrens whispered these words and died.

 Last-Words Ahrens

The top ace pilot of WWI, the Red Baron uttered these words after being shot in the chest during aerial combat and roughly landing his plane in a field in France. Kaputt is German for broken, busted, finished.

 Last-Words Kaputt

American pioneer, explorer, woodsman, and frontiersman, Daniel Boone's frontier exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States....His adventures—real and legendary—were influential in creating the archetypal Western hero of American folklore.

 Last-Words Daniel Boone

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:39 AM | Permalink