Do You Know When You Will Die? Here Is the Likely Answer! All About Death . . .

Answers To Questions About Death

This article covers the common causes of death, life expectancy, the dying process, the embalming process, cremation, decomposition, exhumation, and the answer to that question -- do people really lose weight immediately after dying because their soul has departed?

This article is broken into different subjects relating to death so that you can find the information you are looking for more quickly. I have included a Table of Contents so that you can see the order the subjects are listed in, hopefully making it easier to find the specific information you may be looking for, or you can take your time and read this article in its entirety.


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A Casket Prepared for Burial

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Table of Contents

Many People Seem to Have a Natural Curiosity About Death

When Do Most People Die?

Via DNA Even Death Has a Circadian Rhythm

What Is the Leading Cause of Death In the United States?

Does a Person Lose Weight Immediately or Soon After Dying When Their Soul Leaves Their Body? Can One’s Soul Be Weighed and Measured?

Do Hair and Fingernails Continue to Grow After Death?

How Long Does It Take For the Human Body to Decompose After Death?

Embalming Makes a Big Difference In Decomposition Time and Has Been Practiced Using Different Substances for Centuries

What Is the Embalming Process?

Home Funerals Are On the Rise

What Is an Autopsy and Why Is It Done?

How Is an Autopsy Conducted?

How Does Cremation Work? How Long Does It Take to Cremate a Body?

Does Your Body Go Through a Shutdown Sequence When You Die?

What Is a Burial Vault and What Is Its Purpose?

National Funeral Director’s Association Statistics

What Is a Mausoleum?

Drive Through Funeral Wakes

Sources

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Many People Seem to Have a Natural Curiosity About Death

There seems to be two prevailing attitudes about death. Some people prefer not to talk about death at all. Some people prefer to pretend death will never happen (denial) while other people fear that talking about it may hasten that event (superstition). Still other people are curious and want to know everything about death; maybe in part because it is one of those subjects too many people consider taboo.

A few weeks ago one of my students posed several questions to me regarding death. This student lost his/her grandmother a few months before and as a result, had a lot of questions for me about death. “What happens when a person dies, how long before their body decays, how long does cremation take, does a person really lose weight right after they pass?” My student had a gazillion other death related curiosities as well. This hub was inspired by his/her desire to know all the answers about what happens when a person dies.

While I was able to answer some of the questions my student asked because I have researched certain aspects of death before, I felt additional research was in order for many more of the questions to make sure I gave accurate information. I thought perhaps other people might be interested in the answers to these questions too, and that is the reason for this article.

Here are the answers I found in response to this young person’s questions along with a lot of other information, some of it surprising to me, that I found in the process of researching this subject that I thought was more than a little interesting in reference to death.

Via DNA Even Death, Has a Circadian Rhythm

“Just as circadian rhythms regulate things like preferred sleep periods and the time of peak cognitive performance, they also regulate the times during which we're most likely to experience an acute medical event like a stroke or heart attack.”


"[Clifford] Saper -- who is also the James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, and also the chairman of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Department of Neurology -- explained to me over email, there is a "biological clock ticking in each of us."

Quotes from Megan Garber writing for The Atlantic.


When Do Most People Die?

The answer to this question was not even on my radar when I came across studies indicating that some people have actually looked into this issue and conducted studies on this subject. Some of the answers I foound may surprise you like they did me.

According to statistics, most people die on their birthday or within 3 months of their birthday. Usually within 3 months after their birthday, but sometimes it happens within 3 months before their birthday.

Several years ago when I was thinking about it, I actually noted that many of the people I knew who had died had in fact died within 3 months after their birthday! What surprised me was that according to the statistics, a lot of people actually die ON their birthday. I have never known anyone who did that.

The finding about when most people die that surprised me most of all is that according to statistics most people (the largest number of people) die on February 17th. This seems a little odd to me. What is so special about February 17th? If anyone knows, they do not seem to be telling. I will say this, however. My father died on February 17th, and that was 3 months plus 41 days after his birthday.

While many of my readers no doubt view this subject as deeply serious, I am afraid I must ask this question just the same: Could February 17th be something like April 15th? You know . . . you can file your tax return any day after January 1st, but if you do not get to it right away, so long as you get your tax return postmarked no later than midnight April 15th, all will be well. So could February 17th be the day everyone has to check in (or out depending on your perspective) if they miss their original appointment?

I do not know about you, but some of the information I found in my research created more questions in my mind about death rather than fewer.

February 17th, as the most popular day to die, is not the only surprising information I discovered. There is a particular time of the day when most people die. That time is 11 AM.

A lot of people are superstitious about the number 13. There are no 13th floors in tall buildings. I do not know if they built the entire building with 15 or more floors and then just slid the 13th one out and threw it on the scrap pile or what, but they do get rid of it because no one wants to be that high in the air on the 13th anything!

So, will builders now have to get rid of the 17th floor somehow, too? Will 17 become the new 13? Will people become anxious and nervous on Friday the 17th just as some people do on Friday the 13th? Will February 17th become the most feared day of all regardless of what day of the week it falls on? Will 11 AM on that day become the most dreaded time of the year?

Will horror movies now have to choose whether to feature the 13th, or the 17th? Will the new ‘witching hour’ now become 11 AM instead of midnight?

Look at it this way. Everyday that you live until noon you have made it for another day – unless it happens to be your birthday, within 3 months since your birthday, or February 17th. Then you may have to make it for a bit longer before you breath a sigh of relief. Once you get through all those risky days and time, life should be more relaxed again for a while.

To read more about how scientists came to the conclusion that most people die around 11 AM, and how some people tend to die around 6 PM, check the reference section below for Yahoo Finance. I know, why is Yahoo Finance publishing these findings? All I can tell you is that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

It seems that we all relate to time in a specific way depending on the DNA we have inherited from our parents. Along with that, and our natural circadian rhythm, the time of day when we are most likely to expire (or have a major health event like stroke or heart attack) can be predicted. In other words death in old age from natural causes can be predicted fairly well.

Your DNA will not predict if, or when, you may be hit by a truck or a train, or if you may step off a cliff. It can only predict natural events.

What Is the Leading Cause of Death In the United States?

Bet you think you know the answer to this one. With all the talk about heart disease being the leading cause of death and cancer being the second leading cause of death, most people probably believe that everyone dies of one or the other of these afflictions. Guess what? It turns out that most people in the U.S. do not die of either of these diseases.

The main cause of death in the United States, as a result of our exceptionally modern medical services is OLD AGE! Yup, most people who die in this country do so because of old age.

Even with more than 50,000 people dying in the U.S. every year because they have no access to our best healthcare system in the world (Harvard University study findings), old age is still the number one reason people die in the United States. In addition to our superior modern medical services (for those who can get them), quality of life is sited as part of the reason for people living so long in this country.

Even though we have wonderful amazing medical services in this country that have extended the length of life for many of our citizens, the fact is that people in other developed countries live longer. Why? Because they have universal healthcare so that everyone has access to their wonderful medical services, unlike the U.S., which does not have universal healthcare and so many people die every year as a result.

Can One's Soul Be Weighed and Measured?

“The point that sticks in my mind is we don't understand what the soul could be (physical manifestation or some type of energy) so we can't measure it.” Quote from Daniel Kurz, Bio Team member on Biology Online


Do Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death?

This disturbing, gruesome image is pure "moonshine" according to forensic anthropologist William Maples, who was quoted in the BMJ study [British Medical Journal]. However, he explained that dehydration of the body after death can cause retraction of the skin around hair and nails, giving the illusion that they have grown. All tissues require energy to sustain their functions, and no such thing is possible once the mechanism that promotes normal growth shuts down at death (Andrew Weil, M.D.).

Does a Person Lose Weight Immediately or Soon After Dying When Their Soul Leaves Their Body?

According to cmw333 on Biology Online (See references below to access this information), “It was Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts who attempted to weigh the human soul. In 1907, he placed 6 dying patients on a homemade scale, which also acted as a bed for the patients. He then recorded their weights before and after death. According to Dr. MacDougall, there was a difference of 21 grams between the heavier, living patients [before death] and their dead bodies.

He [Dr. MacDougall] also experimented on 15 dogs and found no loss of weight between the living dogs and their dead bodies. He believed this was because animals do not have souls. (This is not fact, but opinion, regarding whether or not animals have souls.)

His [Dr. MacDougall’s] experiments were criticized since of the six patients [included in the experiment], two tests had to be discarded and the level of error [in the experiment] was very high. Obviously, it was not a very scientific study.

In addition, no one has ever been able to repeat the result of these experiments. Basically, there is still no physiological evidence of the soul. It's an urban legend propagated by a guy who did bad science - looking for an answer he already believed was true. Real science doesn't have attachments to pre-existing beliefs and values. It just observes and hypothesizes.”

Scarlett1 on Biology Online concurs with cmw333 on this issue, and in fact I was unable to find any credible reference in opposition to these opinions on any website.

Since the soul is spiritual, not biological, it would seem to me that it would have no measurable weight, so until someone can prove otherwise, I must agree with the opinions given above.

How Long Does It Take For the Human Body to Decompose After Death?

First let me warn you that the following information is not for the weak of stomach.

If a dead body is left to decay, no embalming fluids or other steps taken to preserve it, this is the usual progression of events.

The body immediately starts to cool down from the usual 98.6 degree Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) internal body temperature once the heart stops beating. The body temperature will drop .83 degrees Celsius, or 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit every hour on average, allowing some consideration for external conditions.

The body will cool down more rapidly in a cold environment than it will in a hot environment. A dead body will continue to cool until it reaches room temperature, or the temperature of the surrounding environment.

Blood begins to ‘pool and settle’ because the heart pump has quit and is no longer forcing the blood to circulate through the body. If a corpse is lying on its back at death and is not moved, most of the blood will pool in the back of the body. Like any liquids, blood will seek the lowest levels.

In addition to the temperature of a corpse falling and the blood pooling, a condition known as rigor mortis sets in approximately 2 to 6 hours after death. Rigor mortis is a stiffening of the muscles and joints as a result of chemical changes in the body that cause the muscles to contract and will last for 24 to 60 hours when the muscles and joints begin to decay.

Molly Edwards, writing for How Dying Works (howstuffworks.com), says that the intestines and other body organs such as the pancreas, stomach, etc., are full of living organisms after death just as they were when the person was alive. These organisms basically digest the pancreas and other organs they inhabit and then move on to other organs.

As the corpse decays it changes colors, first green, then purple, and finally black. The organisms that cause all of these changes in the decaying process create what Ms. Edmonds describes as an “awful-smelling gas.” This gas will cause the body to bloat, the eyes to bulge out of their sockets, and the tongue to swell and protrude from the body. Sometimes after a few weeks the body of a pregnant woman will expel its fetus as a result of this gas created by all of the organisms involved in the decomposition process.

Within a week of death the skin blisters and may fall off with the slightest touch. After a month, the nails, teeth and hair will fall out. The internal organs will have liquefied by this time causing the body to swell. At this point the body will burst open leaving only the skeleton, and in some cases various types of implants if the person had any of those things added during their life. Steel plates to mend bones, pace makers, and yes, even breast and other implants may still remain.

Keep in mind that all of the above described changes take place when a body is not embalmed. If a body is embalmed, that can allow the physical body to remain mostly in tact for a much longer period of time by slowing the decomposition process considerably.

Embalming Makes a Big Difference In Decomposition Time and Has Been Practiced Using Different Substances for Centuries

Science Daily reprinted an article from Zurich University in Switzerland stating that embalming has been in practice since at least 300 A.D. Of course mummification was in use long before that. We have all read about how the Egyptians preserved dead bodies almost indefinitely.

Wikipedia says, “In 1867, the German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann discovered formaldehyde, whose preservative properties were soon discovered and which became the foundation for modern methods of embalming, replacing previous methods based on alcohol and the use of arsenical salts.” Yes, in the 19th and early 20th centuries arsenic was used as an embalming fluid.

It was recently in the news that Tycho Brahe (pronounced Tie-ko, Bra-hee) had been exhumed 2 years ago (sometime in 2009) and that tests and examinations were performed on his body to determine if the man had died from mercury poisoning (it was determined he did not). Brahe was a royal astronomer back in October 1601 when he died. He was exhumed previously in 1901, also.

The point is that the human body can survive fairly well in tact for very long periods of time if it is first embalmed and then buried properly. Brahe has been dead for more than 400 years, yet there was enough left of his body after all that time to test and determine that he did not die of mercury poisoning. Imagine how long a body embalmed by our most modern methods, and buried today might last.

It is important to remember that even after embalming certain parts of the body remain in fairly good condition for long periods of time better than others. All the parts of the body may not age equally well.

Embalming Rooms

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What Is the Embalming Process?

Again I want to caution readers with a weak stomach, because some of the following information may be difficult for some people to read.

The purpose of embalming is to preserve the body long enough for it to get through a funeral or other service and then to burial or cremation. Embalming also helps to prevent the spread of disease.

The first step in embalming is of course retrieving the body from wherever it has been taken after death, the medical examiner’s office, for example, or from the location where the death took place. Time is important, so undertakers must be ready to retrieve dead bodies at any time of the day or night. There is no sleeping late and picking the body up when they have finished breakfast. Undertakers must even work on holidays and weekends as needed.

The putrification process begins immediately once the heart stops. Stopping or slowing that process and preparing the body for whatever services the family has chosen must begin as soon as possible.

Once the body is in the preparation room, it is placed on a slab with draining grooves, the clothing removed, any bandages or medical devices removed, and the body is washed to remove any bodily fluids, or waste materials of any kind. A strong disinfectant spray is used to clean the skin, eyes, mouth, and other orifices.

All bodies, male, female, adult, child, and even babies, are then shaved to remove unwanted hair and or peach fuzz from the face. Everyone has peach fuzz and it needs removal so that the makeup that will be applied later will not collect on the hair and make the makeup too noticeable.

Next the muscles are massaged to get rid of rigor mortis to make it possible to arrange the body as desired and to make the body easier to move. After rigor mortis of the body has been eased the positioning of the facial features and the body itself, the way it will be arranged in the casket, is done.

Once the embalming fluid is introduced into the body, the body will be in a truly fixed position, so it is important to arrange the body and facial features in whatever position is desirable before embalming fluid is pumped into the veins.

You can get more details by checking my references below, but basically the next steps involve preparing the face or head for viewing.

Because the eyes often sink back into their sockets after death, some practitioners place cotton under the lids, while others place ‘eye caps’ over the eyes with a bit of ‘stay cream’ (type of glue) to help prevent dehydration of the eye lids. The lids are often glued together to prevent them from separating. Contrary to what some people believe, the eyelids are now sewn shut.

Next the mouth is tied together with suture string inserted with a needle, or by using a special injector gun that shoots a wire into the upper and lower gums. The wire is then twisted together to hold the mouth shut. The mouth is then stuffed with cotton. Some morticians use a ‘mouth former’ that grips the lips in a desirable position. It is kept in position with a bit of ‘stay cream’ that also keeps the lips from dehydrating.

Once the features are arranged, the introduction of embalming fluid begins. Embalming fluid is a combination of formaldehyde, and some chemicals called Metaflow and Chromatech.

EIHF Isofroid defines Metaflow (one of it’s products) as the following: “Metaflow is a pre-injection and co-injection chemical specifically formulated to intensify embalming chemical receptiveness within the vascular system. It stimulates drainage, circulation and disperses arterial obstacles such as clots and fatty deposits. Metaflow speeds up injection operations, and contributes to superior embalming results. It detoxifies residues of addictive drugs and chemotherapeutic agents which impair preservation and disperses vascular obstacles. Metaflow dissolves fatty gel deposits and prevents cell clumping and clot formation.”

Chromatech gives the body a more natural appearance than makeup can do, giving the body a ‘glow’ of sorts from within so that the body has a more believable appearance of sleeping. Chromatech has a pinkish color not unlike Pepto-Bismo.

Once the chemicals are mixed, and this is often done in the embalming machine, the arterial embalming is done by injecting a tube into the carotid artery. The jugular vein is frequently used to drain the blood out as the embalming fluid is pumped into the carotid artery. Once the arterial embalming is done, the next step is the visceral embalming – draining the internal organs of fluid and replacing that fluid with embalming chemicals.

Just before makeup is applied to the body and it is prepared for viewing, the hole made in the neck area for arterial embalming is sutured, the hole in the abdomen for visceral embalming is stuffed with cotton and sutured, the body is cleaned up, and cream is put on the face and hands to prevent that skin from drying out.

Next the body’s face receives some generous injections of “Feature Fixer,” which plumps the face so that the body looks almost healthy enough to be alive. Next the hair is washed, dried, and styled, and makeup applied to the face and hands.

Finally, the body is dressed, placed in the casket, and posed. Except in the case where a body has received an autopsy, normal underwear is included in their clothing. If an autopsy was performed, the internal organs are treated outside the body and then either put back inside the body cavity embalmed, but still in the plastic bags that contain them, or they are placed at the foot of the casket. It is important to keep the body cool as much as possible to further retard deterioration.

When all of the above steps have been completed in the embalming process family members view the body and decide if any changes need to be made. The body is checked frequently by the mortician to manage the deterioration and correct as necessary, any decomposition that may occur during the viewing period. There should be few if any serious decomposition issues for at least a week.

This film shows what an embalming room looks like and lasts about 3.5 minutes

Home Funerals Can Help in Getting to Acceptance of Death

"A lot of people don't want to do anything with touching dead bodies," says Knox. "They consider it creepy. But it can actually be the first step to healing and acceptance of death. Slowing down the process allows all involved to absorb the loss at their own pace. It's an organic emotional and spiritual healing not available from limited calling hours at a remote location." (Jaweed Kaleem, Huff Post Religion)

Home Funerals Are On the Rise

It seems that home funerals similar to the ones that used to be held in times before the Civil War are gaining in popularity. According to Elizabeth Knox, founder of a Maryland based funeral resource organization and president of National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA), some people consider it preferable to care for their dead loved ones themselves at home, than to turn their bodies over to a funeral home and place it in unfamiliar surroundings where contact is limited to a social occasion.

Knox managed her own 7-year-old daughter’s funeral and body preparation after the little girl died from an airbag deployed in a low speed auto accident. Knox then wrote a book about it, and now travels around the U.S. advising and training other people who want to have home funerals. There are 61 organizations in her nonprofit NHFA group, located in Maryland, California, Texas, and Colorado.

“Most states have nearly eliminated any requirements that professionals play a role in funerals. It's now legal in all but eight states to care for one's own after death,” writes Jaweed Kaleem for Huff Post Religion.

Kaleem further states, “The reasons vary from the economic to the psychological and cultural. The average funeral costs $6,560, while a home funeral can cost close to nothing. In a society where seeing death and speaking of it is often taboo, home funeral advocates are challenging the notion that traditional funerals are anything but a natural end to life. Instead, they assert, death and mourning should be seen, smelled, touched and experienced.”

“But the most important benefits, advocates agree, are psychological. ‘"There's a tremendous increase in healing and acceptance of death for the family to touch and see and be with the departed," Knox said. "It's very empowering at a time when you feel like everything's out of control,"’ writes Rachel S. Cox for The Washington Post.

Cox also writes that home funerals are not for everyone. ‘"For families that have difficulty addressing the topic of death, [a home funeral] is much more difficult," said Stephanie Handel, a grief therapist at the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing in the District [of Columbia]. Facing not only the many reminders of a loved one but also the body itself "might be too much to cope with," said Handel, who also directs a program at the Washington morgue that helps next-of-kin cope with the legalities of an unexpected death . . .”’

It seems that more and more funeral homes are willing to assist people in managing home funerals. Package deals are still available, but many funeral homes also offer clients the opportunity to choose the options they want, which may only include transportation, a simple casket, and/or the ability to consult on issues in regard to preserving the body, etc. For more information on this subject and accounts of home funerals that have taken place see my reference section.

What Is An Autopsy and Why Is It Done?

WebMD defines autopsy, sometimes called a post mortem, as a thorough medical examination procedure that is performed on a person’s body after death. The purpose of the autopsy is to determine as exactly as possible the cause of death, especially if the death was unexpected or may not have been from natural causes (homicide, suicide, accident, etc.).

Usually family members will decide whether or not to allow an autopsy to be performed, but in some states in the U.S. an autopsy will be performed to determine cause of death if the death is as stated above, unexpected and untimely, and especially if foul play is suspected. In some states, permission from a person’s family is not required in such a case.

Here are a few more reasons why an autopsy may be performed:

* When a medical condition has not been previously diagnosed.

* If there are questions about an unexpected death that appears due to natural causes.

* If there are genetic diseases or conditions that offspring or blood-related family members may also be at risk for developing.

* When the death occurs unexpectedly during medical, dental, surgical, or obstetric procedures.

* When the cause of death could affect legal matters.

* When the death occurs during experimental treatment.

* To determine as much as possible the exact cause of death. For example, the only way to determine if a person absolutely had Alzheimer’s disease is with an autopsy. Prior to death it may be strongly suggested, but only an autopsy can make a certain diagnostic determination at this time.

How Is An Autopsy Conducted?

Again, if you tend to get a bit squeamish, you may want to skip this part.

Again, referencing WebMD, a careful examination of the external body is carried out at the beginning of the procedure. Photographs of the entire body or of specific body parts may be taken. X-rays may be taken of the skeleton, or of injuries, or of embedded objects, or bullets or other abnormalities. X-rays can help identify a person if the person’s identity is not known. The body is measured and weighed.

A description and the location of identifying marks are documented on a body diagram. Marks such as tattoos, birthmarks, scars, wounds, injuries, bruises, cuts, and any other significant findings are recorded.

Next a complete internal examination of the body cavities is undertaken. This includes removal and dissection of the chest, abdominal, and pelvic organs as well as the brain. The organs are first examined before removal and then in more detail again after removal. Some tissues will be removed for examination under a microscope. Initial findings may indicate a need for further testing of various fluids or organs. For more detail on exactly what is done, see my references below.

How Does Cremation Work? How Long Does It Take to Cremate a Body?

Cremation is an alternative to a burial. In 2009, slightly more than 38% of persons who died (2.4 million deaths per year in the U.S.) were cremated. There is usually a funeral preceding the transport of the body to a crematorium. Cremation uses high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation to reduce dead animal or human bodies, to basic chemical compounds such as gases and mineral fragments that retain the appearance of dry bone. The body to be cremated is placed in the cremator still inside the coffin.

A cremation is done in a crematory that is housed within a crematorium and contains one or more furnaces. A cremator is an industrial furnace that is able to generate temperatures of 870–980 °C (1600–1800 °F) to ensure disintegration of the corpse. A crematorium may be part of a chapel or a funeral home, or may be an independent facility or a service offered by a cemetery (from Wikipedia).

A cremator is not designed to cremate more than one human body at a time; cremation of multiple bodies is illegal in the U.S. and many other countries. Exceptions may be made in special cases, such as with stillborn twins or with a stillborn baby and a mother who died during childbirth. In such cases, the bodies must be cremated in the same container.

The process of cremation usually takes between 90 to 120 minutes, but may vary according to the size of the body being cremated. It takes less time to cremate a child than an adult, and less time to cremate a small or average sized adult (under 200 pounds) than a very large adult that may weight 300 pounds or more.

For more specific details, please see my reference below for this subject on Wikipedia.

Does Your Body Go Through a Shutdown Sequence When You Die?

Paul King, Computational Neuroscientist, writing for Quora.com says, ”When the human body dies of natural causes, the brain is among the first organs to fail, so it is not directing any kind of shutdown process the way an operating system shuts down a computer.

Biological death is a cascading failure of a critical number of interdependent systems such that whole organism recovery becomes statistically impossible. Where the cascading failure begins depends on the "cause of death." However, as the cascade spreads, the individual subsystems become less and less able to maintain normal functioning. Eventually everything comes to a halt.

Death by "natural causes" simply means that the cause of death was disease or systemic degradation due to aging. If "foul play" (negligence or criminal activity) is not suspected, then the precise cause of death is typically never determined and "natural causes" is put on record.

The typical order of system failure in human death begins with cessation of heartbeat or breathing, which causes oxygenation of tissue to stop. The loss of oxygen affects the brain first, which will lose consciousness within 10 seconds of oxygen deprivation. The brain's requirement for oxygen is so high that irreversible damage results after a few minutes without oxygen. The loss of oxygen goes on to affect other organs more slowly. Organ donation is possible because many organs can survive for hours without oxygen if they are kept cool enough, which slows down metabolism.

Certain diseases can initiate systemic failure in other ways. Dehydration, septic shock, or kidney failure affect body tissues by introducing a chemical imbalance rather than oxygen deprivation.”

Example of Why Burial Vaults Are Recommended

A backhoe getting ready to dig a grave between two occupied graves demonstrating the need for a burial vault.
A backhoe getting ready to dig a grave between two occupied graves demonstrating the need for a burial vault. | Source

National Funeral Director’s Association Statistics

Employment: U.S. funeral homes employed 102,877 workers in 2007.

Funeral home/funeral home combined with crematories revenue: $11.95 billion in 2007, increased from $11.05 billion in 2002.

2009 national employment estimate for occupation of funeral director: 25,820; embalmers: 8,190.


What Is a Burial Vault and What Is Its Purpose?

A burial vault has the purpose of enclosing the casket and preventing the grave from settling or caving in. The casket alone does not have the strength to hold much weight and just the weight of the soil on top of it can cause it to compromise. A large piece of equipment, usually a backhoe is often used to fill in the grave and compress the soil over it. The casket will not bear it’s weight very well as the backhoe runs over the grave, and the casket is compromised and squashed down. A reinforced burial vault will prevent this.

In addition to protecting the casket from giving way under weight, burial vaults with liners prevent water, insects, and other ground elements from entering the casket and damaging the contents. There are different styles of vaults and most can be personalized if desired. Once the casket is placed in the vault, an adhesive compound is used to seal the vault, keeping water, mud, and insects and from entering the casket.

Many local laws do not require a vault, but often cemeteries do require them to prevent the graves from settling. Vaults can cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars in addition to the cost of the casket and other funeral services. The average cost of a vault is around a thousand dollars.

What Is a Mausoleum?

Mausoleums are sometimes referred to as tombs, although the tomb is enclosed within the mausoleum, and is only a part of it. The tomb refers to the small chamber where the body rests.

A mausoleum is a freestanding building intended to be a monument, and a Christian mausoleum may contain a small chapel within.

The mausoleum includes spaces or chambers sometimes referred to as sepulcher, for one or more bodies. It may be the permanent resting place for a single body or it may include many niches for several bodies.

Sometimes families will own a mausoleum together that includes chambers for many members of that family. Mausoleums can be located in a cemetery, on private property, or on church property. When the mausoleum is located underneath a church (in the basement) it is sometimes called a crypt.

The Taj Mahal, one of the most famous mausoleums in the world

A mausoleum is a monument and may have only one chamber or many.
A mausoleum is a monument and may have only one chamber or many. | Source

Drive Through Funeral Wakes

Drive through funeral wakes where one need not even get out of their car in order to view the remains of their deceased loved one are becoming more popular for people who are short on time or who may just prefer more privacy to greave. To learn more about drive-through wakes and how they work, C. E. Clark has written a short report titled: Drive Through Funeral Wakes -- How They Work. Check it out. Just go to Google and put C. E. Clark on Wikinut in the search box.

Summary

Every subject related to death that I can think of, short of the religious aspects of it, has been covered here with references for anyone who wishes to explore further. If it comes to my attention that additional issues relating to death are discovered to be absent from this article I will add them in the future.

References

In No Particular Order:


Definition of MetaFlow

http://www.eihf-isofroid.eu/produit.asp?reference=18&ref_section=4&ref_cat=16&lg=en


Yahoo Finance: Day & Time a person is most likely to die.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/most-likely-die-11-m-221354618.html


Cremation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation


Tycho Brahe after he died in 1601

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/18/tycho-brahe-death-poison-bladder_n_2148980.html


How Stuff Works --What happens to the body after it dies? The process of decomposition.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/human-biology/dying4.htm


The embalming process:

http://listverse.com/2007/11/08/the-5-stages-of-embalming/


A personal experience of someone learning to embalm

http://www.themorningnews.org/article/how-to-embalm-a-body


Definition and purpose of a Burial Vault

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burial_vault_(enclosure)


WebMD – Autopsy

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/autopsy-16080

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/autopsy-16080?page=2


Life Expectancy Based on UN figures

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy


This might also be of interest on life expectancy:

http://aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf


Causes of Death Around the World

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death


Body Shut-Down Sequence

http://www.quora.com/When-the-human-body-dies-of-natural-causes-what-is-the-shutdown-sequence


Explanation about a dead body losing weight Shortly After Death

Biology Online.org

http://www.biology-online.org/biology-forum/about19524.html


Home Funerals and Burials

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/25/home-funerals-death-mortician_n_2534934.html?ir=religion&utm_campaign=012613&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Alert-religion&utm_content=FullStory


Home Funerals from Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/04/AR2005060401667.html


Statistics for Cremation, Average funeral costs, etc.

http://www.nfda.org/media-center/statisticsreports.html


What happens in a funeral home when a body arrives? Video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=osR1uSnJ854


Burial Valts Video – Not upsetting and explains purpose and importance

http://www.baxterburialvault.com/pages/faqs/what_is_a_burial_vault


© 2013 C E Clark

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Comments 123 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 5 months ago from North Texas Author

Jinyuchen, thank you for sharing your thoughts and giving me and my readers a little insight into how death is thought of in China. I agree with you entirely. Death is just another part of life and avoiding the subject will not make it go away. Take care . . .


jinyuchen profile image

jinyuchen 6 months ago

It's excellent interesting. When I was a little girl, in my family, even in the whole society, we cannot talk about the death. people thought it's a bad thing and would bring bad result. 'why' the word came out in my mind, but I cannot ask until the curiosity grew up with my age. no one can avoid the death, why not face it, know the truth. thanks for this information.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

VirginiaLynne, thank you for reading/commenting on this article and for sharing your thoughts. I think it's always good to prepare for the future without losing sight of the present. One needn't dwell on morbid things to think about how they will help someone who may have received a terminal diagnosis, or how they might accept one themselves one day. Death is and has always been a part of life. Refusing to think or talk about it will not make it go away.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas Author

Mary615, thank you for coming by and sharing your experiences and your thoughts on this sometimes uncomfortable subject!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Patricia (pstraubie48), thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this subject.

I haven't touched on near death experiences here. I've mainly focused on the physical changes that take place when someone dies and how the body is prepared for burial, etc. I always like to hear about near death experiences. I find them fascinating. I have no idea who is right where these experiences are concerned, and that is something I'll discover when my time is up.

It's always good to take stock of one's ideas and beliefs every once in a while, don't you think? I'm willing to listen to things I haven't heard before (reasons for differing views on things, etc.), and if I hear something that I haven't heard before from a new perspective or experience someone else has had that I have not, I have even been known to modify or change my mind about something.

Very much appreciate your time and thoughts, and always, the angels. Take care . . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

Paul Kuehn, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this subject that is so difficult for a lot of people. Also very much appreciate the vote, and the shares on FB and HP.

Yes once we die we are done with our bodies. We can't take them with, and who would want to? Christians look forward to a new incorruptible body. I think cremation is becoming more and more popular because of the high cost of burial. When my late husband died he was cremated and we had a memorial for him.

Mary615 has written about how a person can have their ashes put in an urn along with a seedling of their choice. She and I both agree we want to be Oak trees in our next life. :)

Death is a part of life and everyone must meet it one day. I think if we keep that in mind as we make our journey it will make it easier to face. Not dwelling on it in a morbid way, but just accepting it as reality and preparing ourselves for when that day arrives.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 18 months ago from United States

You have presented a lot of interesting information. Since the one thing we know is true is that we all will die sometime, it is not such a bad idea to think more about it and to take death into consideration as we live out our lives.


mary615 profile image

mary615 18 months ago from Florida

I just came back for a reread of this very informative and interesting Hub. As you know, I want to be cremated and have my ashes placed into a recyclable urn that has a seedling of a tree, so I can return as an Oak. (Thank you for including a link to my Hub on that subject)

I just watched the movie with Sally Fields depicting life during the depression years (can't remember the name, something with "heart" in the title. At any rate, her husband was shot and killed. His body was brought back to the home, where the wife and her sister bathed the body. I don't remember that custom, but it was very touching.

I have had several "near death" experiences. I almost drowned when I was a youngster. My memory of that was it was just like drifting off to sleep. I was angry when I realized I had been pulled from the water!

I don't fear death at all.

I'm sharing this Hub again.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 18 months ago from sunny Florida

Very interesting and well presented, AuFait. This topic is of course one that each of us will come to terms with sooner or later and many of the questions that are posed within your article will be answered for us at that time.

It is fascinating to me to read of the thoughts on the topic and to consider what may be what actually happens. For those who have had near death experiences telling about what happens is closer to what really happens than what some may 'think', I would be inclined to believe. I know Au Fait there is a lot of controversy surrounding near death accounts but, alas, who are we to say they do not happen??

Anyway, as is always the case with your writings, I know that when I come here I will find much of interest....that my beliefs and ideas may be challenged. And that is one reason I read your articles.

Hoping all is good with you and yours. Angels are winging their way to you this morning ps Voted up++++


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 18 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Au fait, you know it took me a long time to read this hub because like many people I viewed death and what happens to the corpse after it as taboo. I'm glad that I have read your awesome, interesting, and very useful hub. It has answered a lot of my questions and cleared up things I wasn't sure about. Cremation does sound and look like an awful thing, but then again how can it hurt when you are already dead. Both of my parents were cremated without having any wake or funeral according to their wishes. I remember carrying my dad's remains up into the woods on our farm where they were scattered. I was surprised that the remains weighed about 2-3 pounds and fit into a small oblong box. Unfortunately, I was unable to get back to the States after my mother passed away. Voted up and sharing on Facebook and with HP followers.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 18 months ago from North Texas Author

DeborahDian, thank you for stopping by. Yes, I think it is very interesting that if one is examined by these people who research this subject, they can actually tell you very close to the day and hour a person will die.

I didn't put all the info I found in here because it gets pretty complicated, but if you are an early riser -- naturally -- not because you're living by somebody else's schedule, but if it you naturally like to wake up and get up early in the morning by your own choice, then you are likely to die before 11 AM when that day comes . . . there is more for people with other sleep habits.


DeborahDian profile image

DeborahDian 18 months ago from Orange County, California

This is such a fascinating article and so timely ... my husband and I just updated our wills this weekend. People need to accept that they will die and face the reality with acceptance!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas Author

Vespawoolf, thank you for reading this article and taking time to share your thoughts on this subject. I noticed several years ago that people tend to die within 3 months after their birthday, but I didn't know the other information here. I was very surprised that there was any research to back up my suspicions regarding this issue and did you know, if 'they' have your specific information they can tell you what day and often what hour YOU will die?


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 23 months ago from Peru, South America

Wow, what an interesting subject! I like the unique way you presented it. I didn´t realize that most people die so close to their birthdate. I wonder if there´s a psychological factor involved? When my mother-in-law was dying of cancer, we traveled to see them family and stay with them during that difficult time. Within a month of our arrival, my mother-in-law died. It was like she had been waiting to see her son and once she had seen him and said her goodbyes, she was ready to let go of life. Burial customs do vary from country to country, but we all feel the need to commemorate our dead.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you PegCole17 for reading and commenting on this article and for sharing your experience.

Growing up on a farm I learned about death at a very young age. Death is no uncommon on a farm with livestock. For some reason death has often been a hush-hush subject and I've never really understood why.

I do understand that one should be careful about when the subject is discussed and how, but for it to be taboo at all times seems odd. Same with health issues, sex, money, and a variety of things that many people never quite get a grasp on because it cannot be discussed and so learning is slow.

I made death my major course of study in my gerontology class, attempting to help my classmates find it easier to think and talk about. I got credit for taking that on and I think a few of my classmates got a little different, hopefully better perspective on it.

I was not a traditional student and there were a couple of other older students in the class too.

When I was seventeen it fell to me to tell my mother that she had only 3 months to live. No one else would tell her and she kept asking and asking about her prognosis. I think she knew I would be the one who would tell her since I had always been honest to a fault. I was surprised that neither my father or her doctor had told her what had been determined.

My older sibs were all discussing in front of me whether they should clue me in to my mother's condition. They were whispering and gesturing and everything except spelling the words to keep me from catching on to what they were taking about. They were all grown, married with kids, etc. They didn't seem to realize that it was I who had informed them. Can you believe they even considered withholding something like my mother's imminent death from me?

Because of my experience when my mother had cancer and the fact that no one would talk with her about it -- and she wanted someone to talk to about it, I have tried to help people to feel more comfortable with the subject. It is after all a part of every life. I don't believe it should have been left to me, just 17 years old, to tell my mother, my best friend that I have ever had in my life, that she was going to die, and soon.

I have written 2 other articles on this subject and I hope they will help at least a few people to deal with the subject. I would hope that no one would ever be so incapable of thinking about death that they leave the responsibilities of dealing with it to a child, or someone so young to do what adults should be doing.

The accident was odd and maybe someday I will write about it, but it was a miracle that I wasn't killed. When the car started to roll my last thoughts were that I was going to die. I wasn't afraid. Things happen so fast in an accident that there isn't time to be afraid until afterwards if one is able.

It's scary to think about now, the different things that happened and the things that by some miracle did not happen. I have never had that experience that life is fleeting, as a result of any close call. Maybe if I had had a near death experience I would feel differently, but I have never experienced that.

I am more of a belief that if it's not your time you will survive, and if it is your time nothing can save you. I am convinced that I was tossed gently from that car just prior to it falling over on it's top and I remember it as though it was yesterday. I was 20 and it was my husband's birthday. First thing the cop said to my husband as he came to me in the emergency room was . . . . yup, "Happy Birthday!" I had totaled his car. Yes, I have lived one of those exciting lives and it's not over yet. :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Mary615, thank you for reading this article. That is quite a challenge in itself! And the comments too! Very much appreciate your high praise and the votes and shares also. Very good of you to explain the southern tradition of having a wake in one's home. I think they did that pretty much everywhere here in the states up into the late 50s, and it gradually changed, moving to the funeral home.

There are a good many things that different people are uncomfortable talking about. I don't understand why because talking about things is what helps us all to learn, and to accept when that is necessary. I really think that half the world's problems are caused by poor, or complete lack of communication.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This is an interesting topic and the process of what happens to the physical body after our death was well explained. The comments added a lot of value to what you've explained and show that people are curious about this subject. The statistics on time of death and even the time frame that we're likely to expire were a fascinating observation.

I remember the first funeral that I attended as a small child and the questions that arose during the process of viewing the departed. It was one of those aha moments when we learn about our mortality.

Glad you made it through your auto accident even though you were pretty badly bruised. A brush with death or a close call like that can certainly give us new perspective about how we spend our days.


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

I just spent about half an hour just reading your Hub and all the comments. I don't know when I have read a more researched and through article. You covered a lot of territory here, and I like the way you referenced every aspect.

We begin to die from the moment we are born. I've never understood why people are reluctant to talk about it. It's something we all have to do, right? I've never heard of a home funeral before; interesting.

Where I grew up in the South, the custom was to have the embalmed body displayed in the living room in an open casket for three days so all the friends and relatives could come, (comment on how well the person looked), eat food, and socialize.

Again, my compliments on your interesting and well researched Hub. Voted UP, etc. and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

CyberShelley, thank you or taking time to read and comment on this article. Glad if you found answers to any questions you may have had either in the body of this article or in the comments. I'll be adding more information one of these days if I just live long enough -- no pun intended. ;) Just finding time to do all that needs doing is sometimes not easy.


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago

Au fait, this is a remarkable, well researched hub and for those of us who think of death and what it involves it is also settling. Your conversations with cantuhearmescream were enlightening - Thank you for sharing.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Pharmg459, thank you for stopping by.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for stopping by and sharing family info as well as sharing this article, and for the votes. My bags are packed. Blessings to you also . . .


Pharmg459 2 years ago

Very nice site!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

MG Singh, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!


Pharma6 2 years ago

Very nice site!


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 2 years ago from Singapore

The Gita says death is just a milestone to rebirth and another life. i believe in it and treat death accordingly


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Au fait, I have paid close attention to death dates in relation to birth dates after reading this. My husband's nephew passed two years ago he had just turned 61, then earlier this ween his brother passed away, he also had just turned 61.

As for me, I am going when God is ready for me.

This is very interesting, voted that way and UA and shared.

Blessings Shyron


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Tony55, thank you for stopping by and commenting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

CrisSP, thank you for reading and commenting on this article and for your high praise. There are still a few things I need to add in here when time presents itself. Hope it was informative.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Shyron, thank you for coming by and admiring my new Table of Contents! I'm so proud of figuring out how to do this so that people can just click on the section of this article they want to read and it will jump right to that place, that I can hardly believe I did it! I'll be happy to show you how it's done anytime, just say when.

Hugs to you also and to John, and I hope you are feeling much better.


tony55 profile image

tony55 2 years ago from Nigeria

Hello Aufait, you've got a morbid sense of humor like me. Death is inevitable and the mechanism of biology seems to throw us a few jokers along the way.

Some of your hubs look really dark but i think i will give them a go, keep up the great work.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Holy Moly! How intense! Very interesting and so thought provoking. I wanted to skip some parts but I also wanted to know more.

I must commend you for the research works involved in this hub.

Good job.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Au fait, how awesome your table of contents. I need to do this for my Keystone XL Pipeline.

Voted up, UABI, and shared.

Hugs to you my friend.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for sharing your experience in home funerals andfor the votes and share. Hope you are feeling much better today!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

I came back to re-read this, I forgot most of what it said.

When I was a little girl, I remember my Great Grandparents being waked at home. And people came to the house to pay their respects. You think that it hard, but it is not.

I thought I would read some before going to bed.

Voted up, AI and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Sam (Samowhamo). Don't forget February 17 is the catchall for people who missed their regular appointments . . . ;)

Things are as usual here. Glad to hear your snow is melting. Take care . .


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 2 years ago

Very interesting Au Fait I learned things that I never knew about death particularly how most people die on their birthday or within 3 months of their birthday. I hope you are alright Au Fait take care.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake, for pinning this hub! I hope you're enjoying the Christmas season!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

I'm back here to pin this on my Hub board. It is a very interesting hub and more people need to read it. Have a happy day.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake for sharing and tweeting this hub!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Came back to check out your hub again. Sharing with followers and tweeting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for sharing this article Petty W! Agree with what you wrote.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading, voting on, and sharing your experience relating to this subject. If you noticed, the 17th has a special connotation in regard to when people die, it isn't just 3 months before or after their birthday. The significance of the 17th was mentioned in this article. The 13th is no problem. ;)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you rebeccamealey for reading and sharing your thoughts and observations on this issue! I noticed a lot of people I knew died within 3 months after their birthday before I did the research on this article. I wasn't actually looking for information on 'when' people died because it never occurred to me that anyone had done any research on it. What surprised me most was that there is a particular day when most people die, and that more people die on that day than any other.


rose-the planner profile image

rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

This is another great article even though most people don't want to think about it. Interesting fact about deaths occurring close to birthdays. My dad passed away 13 years ago on August 22nd and his birthday was November 20th so almost 3 months to the day before his birthday. Also, did you know that in Italy the number 17 is considered bad luck and the number 13 is considered good luck.....go figure. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This was very interesting. I walk in the cemetery a lot near my home. I have a mean dog (not the one in my avatar) so I figure he can't scare anyone there. As you can imagine, I spend a good bit of time studying the names and dates, etc. I will say I have noticed at least one grave where someone died on his/her birthdate. I will be watching for the 3 month thing!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Sharing this once again. People should not fear death. It is a natural part of life. It is only the physical body that dies and decays...not the essence of who we are.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron for reading and commenting on this hub.

Because of something I read, I decided to check when Marilyn Monroe died. I thought it was Aug. 11th, but in fact it was Aug. 5, 1962. Anyway, her birthday was June 1st. So even when someone Overdoses or commits suicide it would seem that it's within 3 months of their birthday if her death is any example. I know lots of people who died within 3 months of their birthdays, but usually it's within 3 months afterward, not before, at least from my observations. Research shows it can be either.

Glad your surgery went well and that your thumb is working well and the pain is gone. Really hope the meds they gave you will help with the migraines. No one should have to suffer migraines.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

My dear friend Au fait, I thought today was the day, b-day is next month and I woke with a migraine from hell, but went for my surgery anyway.

Surgery went great, but on the way home got sick and used belongings bag as a barf-bag. Slept a little bit then woke with migraine worse...

Just now trying to type, but is difficult...

Got to go, I don't have another ba......


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you thumbi7 for reading and commenting on this article. I wasn't looking for this information. I found it when searching for other info and the times of death do seem unusual, but that is when most of the people who have already died have done so. Thank you for your interest.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 3 years ago from India

Very interesting information. It is surprising to read about the usual time of death around 11 am or 6pm and after three months of birthday.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Deborah-Diane, for reading, commenting, and pinning/sharing this article. I found a lot of the information in this article surprising too.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

Fascinating information! I don't know how I missed this article before. I am posting this to my Interesting Articles board and sharing it with others. I am also going to start paying more attention to when people I know die.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Cat (Cantuhearmescream). Other people have shared their unusual experiences here, but generally those hubs don't do well. I prefer not to write about certain aspects of my life because they really are irrelevant to other people. Sometimes I mention them in passing.

I know that if you search for the answers you need you will find them. The important thing is to be satisfied with those answers yourself, not to be concerned with other people's opinions and insistence that they are right and you therefore should accept their analysis and/or conclusion.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I really appreciate all you had to say and I take it to heart. Your words have not fallen on deaf ears! It's actually quite refreshing because this has, unfortunately, become a topic that I don't often feel comfortable treading because of the ignorant debating that tends to show up with it. I admit, I'm also afraid to put myself out there too often because I feel that a lot of people blindly preach and that is no comfort to me. I've grown to trust you and value your opinion prior to this conversation and so I can appreciate what you're saying. I have already given some thought to what you said in your previous comment and I am taking notes :D

I also meant to mention last time, that it would be interesting for you to share your car accident/miracle experience... I'm not sure if you spoke about it in your newest hub, but I see you have one up and regardless, the title sounds appetizing! I will be there soon!

Thanks again, I really appreciate it!

Cat


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cat,

Like you, I prefer the facts. I also prefer the truth, even if it hurts. I can work with the truth, but I can bang my head against a lie forever and make no progress. Faith is important, and even though I have faith to an extent, I don't feel like it's the same as for a lot of people. That is because of experiences I have had in my search for the truth. I believe God has shown Himself to me, provided proof of His existence, and that to me is amazing. I never required proof or asked for any kind of proof, so maybe that's why I received it? So I don't feel like I'm accepting something totally in the dark.

Jesus talks about what Heaven will be like, but I still don't feel like I really understand what it will be like. What I do know is that Jesus is who He said He is and that I can trust Him, so whatever it is like in Heaven, it will be OK. Jesus will be there.

It's sort of like knowing you have to move to a new place a long way from where you are now -- like from NY to CA. Everything will be so very different and you will have to learn your way around and so many new things. Imagine though, if your best friend now lives there and will be there to welcome you and help you learn what you need to know to be successful and happy. That will make it a lot easier to accept and you may even look forward to moving there. Knowing someone you love and who loves you is going to be there to help you get settled and oriented can make such a difference.

That is why I have suggested reading the Bible in one of the modern English versions so that you can understand it, and then making time, just a few minutes every day, to spend alone quietly with God. Talk to Him as you would a dear friend about whatever is on your mind. If you stick to doing that, especially spending time with God, before much time passes, I think you will develop a relationship with Him and as that relationship continues more and more of the answers you seek will become clear. One of the most important things when talking to God is allow Him the opportunity to answer. His voice is soft, so you have to listen with your heart. Sometimes the answer will come later if you're paying attention. There's no reason you can't have an ongoing discussion with him all day just as you would with a friend who was always walking beside you. He has a sense of humor and I think He would probably appreciate yours. Yes, I do know what I'm saying. ;)

Anyway, lot of people forget the listening part. That's just as important as the talking part. What have you to lose?

I've had a fair number of close calls over the years, not just with vehicles. My mother often said that I walked where angels dared not tread. Still standin' and I've gone up against some pretty tough characters a few times. ;) One of these days I'll probably lose, but so far, so good . . .


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you psbhatt for reading and commenting on this hub!

I don't know if I made it clear that the research and the conclusions of the research done were not my own. Researchers took data -- the dates on which everyone died over a certain period of time and fed those dates along with the birthdays of those people who had died into a computer and that computer came up with not a theory, but when most people die. Death certificates will state a person's time and date of death and birth certificates state the time and day a person is born. That information is what the computer used to determine when most people die.

That is not my personal conclusion, but the conclusion of computers used in the research with the information I stated.

I have however, known many people who did die within 3 months after their birthday.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I'm almost in tears... wow! Thank you, that was honestly beautiful and kind of matter of fact! Okay... yes, the tears are coming, as it's still hitting me (I must be overtired :D ).

I'm going to try to go back now... yes, I am referring to the 'hereafter'. I'm a factual kind of person, which, in my opinion, doesn't fare well with faith... not to say I don't have faith. As a matter of fact, as a small child, I would pray to God that he kept my family alive... obviously as I grew older I realized this wasn't going to be an option or a reality. Maybe I became disappointed in that? Whenever I ask people questions about 'hereafter' or even faith in general, I've only gotten speculation and probably even more so, blank stares and shoulder shrugs. I am a sponge and I seek information. I ponder, sure... and I appreciate the psychological side of things... but there has yet to be someone who has come back from the 'hereafter' and 'lived' to talk about it. I'm not saying I don't believe in those moments that people say, on their deathbed, they had a moment, a vision, a message... but that's not the same, in my opinion, as leaving this earth for an extended period of time, exploring and returning.

I grew up Christian, was baptized Methodist and attended church regularly. I never had anything 'test' my Faith, but I have had questions and maybe I've been asking the wrong people. I kind of 'coincidentally' ended up at a private Christian university, without necessarily realizing it until classes started... I know, that sounds silly. Anyway, I realized that it was at that point in my life that I wanted or needed to be conscious and aware of my Faith and my reasoning behind it, especially after being subjected to a course that explore the most popular 'worldviews'! I had always been and believed what I had because that was how I was led as a child. I wanted to be responsible for my own Faith as an adult, but I didn't want it to be blind... so I sought. At the time, I was living in a place where many people were Christian and the topic of conversation often came up, enough for me to feel comfortable talking about it without being scrutinized. The more I asked questions... to get a deeper understanding and appreciation, the more I became confused. I wanted people to be so sure of themselves that their answers spoke for them, but they didn't. Then I started to wonder, are people content in simply calling themselves 'Christians' whether it influences their lives in anyway or not? I actually found myself getting turned off and quickly. What was I supposed to grab onto? I did dig out my Bible and for the first time as an adult, began reading it. I found more use in those yellowed pages than any person I'd talked to. It's a little embarrassing... but I think I'm just kind of at a lost place in my life right now. I'm not quite wandering around aimlessly, I'm just trying to take ownership for who I am and what I believe, but I want it to be real... I don't know if that makes any sense to you. I so very much appreciate your advice and I don't think you understand what your words have meant to me tonight... so thank you very much for that. I think my journey is just beginning.

As far as that car accident... gosh, I still cannot believe how lucky you are and now I feel more comfortable in reiterating that there is a Reason you were kept alive.

Thanks again... so much, you may have just given me the best advice I've ever been given.

Cat


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

When you say you're not comfortable with what happens after death, are you speaking of what many refer to as the hereafter? Or are you speaking of all the gory details of autopsy/embalming, or whatever?

I've noticed that if I get hit on the head it usually does less harm than in other places. ;)

Actually the experience itself (the accident) happened so fast, and I was unconscious for much of it, that I didn't feel much in the way of fear or anything else, but now when I look back it scares the crap out of me. Even though I got back to driving about 2 weeks later, I had to take back roads to work where I could poke along at 30-40 mph if I felt like it.

I usually drove to work on the Interstate at about 85 mph, but I slowed down for a while after that accident. In fact, at the time I lost control I was going as fast as the car would go, 87 mph.

I knew when it started to roll. It was like slow motion, and then for some reason I went unconscious. My last thought being, "Now I've done it and I'm going to die." It was quite amazing when I came to just before I was thrown from the vehicle, and maybe I should write about it sometime.

My car was totaled, on my husband's birthday no less, and I was going to be OK. When I was finally allowed to get out of bed at the hospital and saw myself in the mirror I looked literally like a monster from a horror movie. Both my eyes were black and blue, big bandage on my forehead, one eye swollen almost shut and blood in the white of it where it was visible. I had horrible room spinning dizziness for a long time afterward, but it could have been worse. I might have ended up disabled. I know a lot of people manage that very well, but I don't think I would have their braveness.

If you believe in God, I recommend you get yourself one of the modern English versions of the Bible and read the New Testament. Pray, and talk to God just like you would talk to your best friend. No formal prayers required and no flowery stuff, although He likes to know you appreciate Him, like we all like to be appreciated, if you know what I mean.

Make time for Him when you can have some peace and quiet and won't be interrupted. Start with 15 minutes, and don't feel weird if you decide to jus talk to Him -- not out loud, but in your mind since He can read your mind after all -- anyway, do that whenever it suits you. No need to set time aside for that. Pretend your best friend is beside you, because in fact He is.

When you have done these things, assuming you don't find them repugnant (atheist), see how you feel in a few weeks about life, death, etc. It's my opinion that there is nothing like the feeling of being surrounded by God's love. Not even chocolate can beat it, or that other thing we can't say on here -- s-e-x, or some such thing.

Having a personal close relationship with God resolves a lot of questions in time. He will give you those answers as you are ready for them. He did say in relation to questions about death, "seek and ye shall find." If you feel the urge to read other books or talk with people about the subject, feel free to do so. You just never know how God will answer your questions. Sometimes He does it though other people or events.

I was only 20 when the accident occurred, and I've had some other close calls too. My daughter hadn't been born yet, but I think maybe if I live a long life it will be more because I come from a long line of tough old coots!

We are all changing the world Cat, especially when our writing gets an audience. That means YOU are changing the world along with the rest of us. We all influence people everyday, some of whom we don't know and will never know. They see, hear, or read us, and carry their experience with them if only in their subconscious. The subconscious is a powerful thing, far more than the credit it's given.

We are all like pebbles dropped into a puddle creating ripples that affect people and things in some cases quite far away. Writing here, our audience is the world and those who read us may spread our words to people around them. Bet you didn't realize just how powerful you are . . .


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

Ugh! Ha ha... I hate to start my comment that way, but I did come back to this hub shortly after I had commented on it and now I'm five days late... and look at the response I've been missing out on! I really appreciate what you had to say about finding my own answers. I truly appreciate that and it's the first real answer I've ever gotten. It seems that so many people wan to have the 'right' answer but nothing has yet satisfied me. I just feel like I'm too old, not to know yet. I've heard so many conflicting things that I've not known what to do with all of the information. I think I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of dying.... accepting death, anyway. I'm not overly comfortable in what I think happens after death... this is where I must begin my journey. From here, I am going back to another 'death' hub of yours... and actually read it this time!

What a nightmare that must've been, that car accident! You are lucky to be alive... and even damage-free! You mentioned the EMT thing, I have to admit... I've witnessed some things from the outside looking in, but I've no idea what it's like from the inside itself... so that was actually quite interesting. Needless to say... there must be a reason you were kept alive... I've seen people die from much less. Changing the world maybe?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for voting on, and sharing, and pinning this hub! I'm sorry you were having a bad day the day you wrote this and I hope things are better now.


psbhatt profile image

psbhatt 3 years ago from HYDERABAD

I feel various religions evolved their own ways of rites based on availability of natural resources such as space, density of population, etc. Islam and Christianity prevailing in large and lesser densely populated countries (Arabia, Russia, Europe, etc.) may afford more space hence burial..Hinduism prevalent in densely populated country like India may prefer cremation. Demographic pressures dictated this. Great hub to read. But concluding that one generally dies within 3 months time radius of his birth date baffles me.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

skperdon, thank you for reading and commenting no this hub and for voting! Death really isn't that scary if you think about it. All very practical and they wait on the autopsy 'til you're dead, so it doesn't hurt. ;) Sorry to be a little flip, but death comes to us all eventually, some sooner rather than later.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Au fait, this has been a hell week and this maybe the day that I die. Great hub, voted up UAI will share and pin.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

tammyswallow, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub and for your kind words.


skperdon profile image

skperdon 3 years ago from Canada

Wow! This is a fascinating hub. I never actually thought about death in details like this. I'm one of those people who have always "tiptoed" around this topic. I'm definitely voting this hub up!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream: Cat, everyone worries about death until they come to terms with it in their own way. I think the biggest concern many people have is what the actual dying will be like. Will it be painful? Will it take very long? Seconds can seem like hours in a seriously stressful situation. Then there is the desire some people have of not wanting to leave people and things behind . . .

We don’t have a choice. Death will come to each of us sooner or later. It will also come to everyone we know, including our parents, our siblings, our best friends, and our children and grandchildren. Every living thing dies sooner or later.

You don’t know if the other people taking the test have the right answers so don’t copy their answers. Find the answers yourself so that you know they are correct. Being in a group of flunkies isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. You may have a lot of company, but is it company you would choose to have if you had a choice? You do have a choice, so use it.

Find the answers you seek. They are out there. I could give you my answers, but because you didn’t find them yourself, you would never be confident in them. Do not be overly influenced by either the religious zealots, the atheists, or even the agnostics. Sincerely seek your answers and don’t give up. Be patient.

In fact, I didn’t walk away from the shock situation. I was driving a Karmann Ghia convertible and my car rolled many times. I was thrown out and lucky to have gotten non-life-threatening injuries, and indeed to still be alive.

People who saw my vehicle after the fact sitting in a claims yard not knowing it was mine said they were sure somebody died in that car. There was nothing left but one of the headlights. No one died in that car or in that accident. I was thrown clear.

I was going to get up and see what I could do and then changed my mind. Soon after that profound tiredness set in. Before that I had felt nothing physically and thought I was unhurt, but in fact I had whiplash so bad I couldn’t lift my head for a week – and no one to sue for it! The whiplash was of course a separate thing from the shock, but I didn’t notice it until the numbness produced by the shock wore off. There were other issues with being in shock and then coming out of it and they weren’t fun, but I lived through it. Sometimes people don’t in extreme cases. I guess if you’re an EMT you know that.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Just Helen, thank you for stopping by.

The Book of Tibetan Living and Dying is entirely about religious beliefs, specifically Buddhism. It was my intention to avoid all religious beliefs in this article. I like to stay out of religion and politics so that my articles can benefit as many people as possible without offending anyone.

My purpose in writing on HP is not to indoctrinate anyone to my religious ideas and values, which are Christian. This hub is intended to answer practical questions people might have about death, not ethereal matters.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 3 years ago from North Carolina

Wow! I learned a lot reading this comprehensive hub. The majority of people I have lost all died within three months of their birthdays. This was so well researched and presented in a sensitive and responsible way. Excellent!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Shyron. Fit or not, everyone will die at some point.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Peggy W for tweeting this hub, and for sharing your thoughts!


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

Ha... I came here for answer and after reading your comment, I only have more questions! Ha ha! Well, I guess I've have to find my way over to those other hubs of yours. One thing that I particularly like about you is that you seek truth and you speak matter of fact. I don't always want the rainbows and butterflies kind of answers... as I'm smart enough to realize they are only given when one doesn't know the truth or to compensate for an ugly truth. I think you're absolutely right when you say much of the problem lies in thoughts of the hereafter and that is something that I still ponder, as I believe I mentioned before, I don't know anyone who has died and lived to talk about it :D. As uncomforting as it may be, I suppose it probably is my journey to make... though I'd really rather just find the answers in a book. Yet, the more I seek, the more I shall find and hopefully that will give me enough knowledge to start parting my own pieces together.

That's really kind of unsettling to hear about your 'shock' situation. I, for one, am certainly happy to see you walked away from that!


just helen profile image

just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

I have recently been reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and thorough recommend it!


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

I read or heard this somewhere and this is how I feel.

"Only those, are fit to live who do not fear to die, and none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joys of life. Life and death are part of the great adventure"


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Cantuhearmescream, thank you for reading this entire article, and for sharing your thoughts and concerns and experience on this subject. Also, for voting on and sharing this hub.

Death comes to everyone sooner or later. It's a natural part of life. Not talking about it or thinking about it will not slow it down or fend it off.

Everyone has different thoughts about whether they would like to know when or close to when they are going to die. Some people appreciate the warning doctors give them so that they have time to say good-bye to friends and loved ones and/or to be sure to fit something they love into the time they have left. Other people prefer not to know when they're going to die.

I don't mind knowing so much as having to linger on full of needles and tubes. I'd rather it was quick in that sense, but I've never been fond of surprises either.

Part of the problem a lot of people have with death relates to what they believe about the hereafter. People are always saying to me, "Well it's a good day when you wake up in the morning isn't it?" Yet in ancient times people used to celebrate a person's death, not their birth, because it was truly believed the person who died had graduated to a better place.

I am fond of responding to people who tell me it's better to be alive than not, by saying, "First of all we have no real proof. No one who has died has communicated in a believable serious way that they are worse off than when they were here on this planet. Secondly, everyone says they want to go to Heaven and everyone says that all will be perfect when they do, yet when the opportunity to go comes along, they have their heels dug in and they have to be dragged into Heaven kicking and screaming, so to speak. Is it possible they think they aren't going to Heaven? Do they have reason to think they aren't?" ;)

Thinking about death and the issues about it that bother you may be just the thing to bring you peace of mind. Finding the answers to questions that bother you may be what is needed. I have 2 other hubs about death and you might find them helpful.

I think who you're talking to makes a difference in what they think everyone dies from. Like I wrote in this hub, stats show that most people in developed countries die from old age. Not shock, cancer, or heart disease. They've just lived a long time and they're bodies are literally worn out.

One of my science professors said that everyone gets cancer eventually if they live long enough. He saw it as a disease of organisms that have lost the ability through the aging process of fighting back any longer. He did say that everyone in the room (150 students plus himself) would eventually die of either heart disease or cancer. Well, turns out our quality of life in developed countries, for most people at least, is so high that he is wrong.

Anyone who has been in a serious accident or life threatening situation has most probably experienced shock. I have experienced shock and it's weird. Nothing hurts at first, but then gradually (over the course of 20-30 minutes in my case), if one survives I suppose, feeling returns and things start hurting like Hell. Maybe shock is the condition one's body goes into while it is deciding if it's going to survive or not.

I actually became unconscious fairly early on in an accident I was in, and I can remember no good reason for it happening (unconsciousness), but it did, and I came to a couple of minutes later, relatively unhurt given what happened in that short time that I was 'out.' No, I didn't see a light, etc.

Jesus said seek and ye shall find. He was speaking at the time of answers about the hereafter. I have been doing that much of my life and I feel like I have many of the answers that matter. Whether I'm precisely correct is questionable, but I think I've probably solved the big questions, at least to my own satisfaction. I think everyone has to do that for themselves. Other people may be able to guide you to some extent, but the journey is yours and you must find the answers yourself.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts . .


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Going to pin this to my Do You Know This? board on Pinterest. So many people are afraid of death. It is a natural part of this life. Sharing again by tweeting.


Cantuhearmescream profile image

Cantuhearmescream 3 years ago from New York

Au fait,

I am so glad I found this hub; I have had some serious death issues and questions my whole life. The funny thing is, all the fear and confusion surrounding the idea, as a kid, I thought would go away or ‘all make sense’ as an adult. I’m no more content now, then I was as a child, I just choose not to allow my thoughts to stay there very long now. The entire concept that the topic of death is considered taboo has made it particular harder for me because there has never been any real kind of resolution for me. I remember asking all kinds of questions… ‘Well what happens when…?’ and I always got hems and haws and no real solid answer. I’m a facts kind of person and the idea that much around death is speculation; I’ve never fully been able to appreciate any answers.

That whole idea behind our DNA having a Circadian Rhythm is maybe a little unnerving to me. I’ve contemplate, for as long as I can remember, if I’d rather know when my time was coming or not. I’ve seen pros and cons to both sides of knowing. After today, I’m going to burn the thought of February 17th out of my short-term memory and not allow its passage into the long-term. I don’t want to become ‘one of those people’ :D

As far as the body losing weight after death; I’m glad you checked further into that as I could see how this would be particularly debatable… hopefully that settles it and it only make sense to me :D

I have to admit, because I haven’t had to deal with the death of a loved one in the recent past, the decomposition information was absolutely interesting and didn’t affect me as it might’ve otherwise. I watch the ‘real’ crime scene type shows and time of death is always an extremely important factor. I’ve always known that there was a connection to time of death and body temperature, but knowing the exact degrees per hour is awesome. I’m tempted to carry a rectal thermometer on my next DOA EMS call :D (I’m kind of serious)

Maybe it should’ve been obvious, but I didn’t realize there was so much handling involved after a person has died, especially positioning of facial features? I don’t know if it makes me want to go or stay away from the next funeral. I guess talking would be ruled out in the next life for those who believe in reincarnation, with a mouth sewn shut? However, I am curious how Chromatech would work on the living? :D

I now have a new appreciation for why funerals are so expensive, at the same time; I’m not necessarily opposed to the growing trend of home funerals, though handling the body of a loved one is something that I’m sure I probably couldn’t do.

I remember my EMT instructor stating that everyone who lives dies from the same thing; shock. There are numerous types of shock and I’d be lying if I said that I remember them all, but shock is nothing more than lack of oxygen and nutrients to the cells, which… you did speak about. I just remember being amazed with him, the same way it created an equal reaction reading this, that, according to his terms, regardless of our cause of death, we all die from the same thing.

This was an extremely thorough article and you absolutely did your research… combined with your already impressive body of knowledge. What a fantastic read and never have I found this much information on death in one place. I’m sharing and pushing as many buttons as I can :D


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you 'just Helen' for sharing your thoughts on this subject. The U.S. still has a mortality rate for women in childbirth and babies that is too high.

I think most researchers agree that genetics play a bigger part in how long a person lives than any other factor. That doesn't mean that environment doesn't matter, only that genetics make the biggest difference.


just helen profile image

just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

My idea is partly tongue in cheek, but partly serious. When I look at the ages at death of various family members I can see that they are fairly consistent throughout the generations (of those that lived beyond childhood).

It is popular to believe we are all living longer. But the statistics always talk about average age at death. Considering that we in the west have reduced perinatal mortality rates that means we are going to live on average longer than our forbears.

Average age at death was obviously earlier than now because so many mothers and babies died...


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Just Helen for commenting on this hub. Studies of people who have actually died were done to determine when the majority of those people died and that is the basis for this portion of my article.

However, you do make an interesting point. Since genetics determines so much about us, and scientists now claim they can tell when most of us will die by studying our individual genes, your method may work better than one might think. ;)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you JayeWisdom for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub, and for sharing your personal experience relating to this article.


just helen profile image

just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

I came up with the idea that if you want to know when you will die, just add up the ages of your grandparents - provided they didn't die in accidents- and divide by 4.

My grandparents were-

68 + 75 + 87 +102 = 332/4 = 83

Just a thought!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Arun Kanti, thank you for reading and commenting on this article.

I think it is long past time when we need to get over the idea that speaking about death will bring it about. In fact every single living thing on this planet including humans will die one of these days. Some sooner than others, but all will die.

Death is a natural part of life and talking about it can help prepare people to face what we must all face one of these days. What exactly is the reason for not talking about death?? Are people afraid it will come out of the shadows and GET THEM if the word death is said out loud?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Tillsontitan for reading, commenting, voting up, and sharing/pinning this hub. Thank you also for your high praise which means so much coming from you.

Not only is February 17th a day to be wary of, but one's birthday AND 3 months before and after one's birthday! I guess I should be glad my birthday is Feb. 18th. I can get all my anxiety out of the way within the same 6 month period! ;)

Home funerals may be coming back. I think because they're a little less expensive . . . Glad if you found something of interest and/or use here. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

Very interesting hub, obviously well researched.

My father was one of those people who was in denial (even into his mid-80s) about death. He never wanted to admit the possibility that he would die. When he died, it was two weeks after his birthday.

Voted Up++

Jaye


ARUN KANTI profile image

ARUN KANTI 3 years ago from KOLKATA

Well researched and very informative hub. Although we generally try not to discuss death but you have given us the opportunity to learn a lot from the interesting hub. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Many of us know much of what you have written, but you certainly did dig into your research, following your Table of Contents to a "T".

Hmm, February 17th...we'd all better get checkups on the 16th! It seems likely the weight given to our soul is in our soul and heart, not measurable. Interesting theory though, does the soul have weight.

It would seem (after reading your embalming section) no matter what we do, we don't age well after a certain point. As for home funerals they continued well into the 20th Century, I know my mother's brother was kept at home and I believe they still do in Ireland in country areas. Of course called "a wake" the purpose is to stay with the body from the time of death till burial and mirrors in the house may be covered or turned to face the wall.

Au fait your hubs are always so educational. We know when we read your hubs we are going to learn something and this is certainly a shining example!

Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, shared, and pinned.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you girishpuri for commenting on this hub. May God bless you also.


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 3 years ago from NCR , INDIA

very interesting, very well researched hub, God bless you.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by John Merrill. Haven't seen you for a while. I was very surprised to discover there is one day when most deaths occur. Even more surprised that it was so close to my own birthday! Now if I can just get past Feb. 17th and my birthday, and another 3 months after that, I should be OK for another 9 months! I guess maybe I should celebrate my birthday 3 months after it passes too. ;)


John Merrill 3 years ago

Guess I better watch out for February 17th. Maybe I should wait and celebrate my birthday for a couple days after too to make sure I make it. Interesting, and seems to answer any question anyone could have on this subject and then some.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Levertis Steele for reading and commenting on this hub! Glad you enjoyed it. While a large number of people do die within 3 months of their birthday (usually after), most people die on February 17th. Now I will always figure if I can make it just past the middle of May I might be OK for the rest of the year! ;)

These dates are based on studies that looked at what days of the year most people died and this is what those studies found, so while I make light of it, the dates represent the deaths of real people.

Thank you for your high praise!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you DeborahNeyens for reading and commenting on this hub, and for sharing your experience about your grandmother. February 17th being the most popular day of the year to die is what I thought was most odd.


Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 3 years ago from Southern Clime

Most people die three months before, on birthday, or three months after. Interesting! The first thought that come to my mind when I read this was, "That is how the guessers at state fairs are able to often guess within three months of one's birthday." Three before and three after means that 6 out of 12 months are useful in getting close enough to anyone's birthday. To me that means a 50% chance of guessing correctly. I have never been accused of being good in math. Maybe that is close enough to a reasonable explanation.

The work of people in forensics must be quite interesting.

How interesting, informative, and thorough your work is! Thanks for sharing.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

What a comprehensive hub. Interesting statistic about people dying around their birthday. My grandmother died on her anniversary, 3 days before her birthday. In fact, the funeral was held on her 75th birthday. When my time comes, I want to skip the embalming and burial and all of that and just be cremated and have my ashes scattered somewhere awesome, like from the top of a mountain or in the ocean.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by and reading/commenting on this hub John M. Just tell me what 'sensitive subject' your class needs explained and send me a plane ticket and I'll be happy to do it! ;)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you DDE, for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub. Also, many thanks for your high praise.


John Merrill 3 years ago

Well, Misty, you certainly are thorough when you attack a subject. Parents are lucky to have you to answer questions about issues that are sometimes sensitive for them, and I'm betting you have the most comprehensive answers anyway! I really liked the warnings on some of the subjects -- I got through them dinner in tact, just so you know. Should have you come and explain some of the more 'touchy' subjects to my class sometime!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Incredible information on every part about death, and my questions are all answered here in detail too. You said it all here. The way you went all out here one of the best and informative I have read on HP. Voted up!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for reading, commenting, voting, and especially for sharing/pinning/tweeting this hub! I, too, prefer to remember people as I knew them in life.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 3 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Another interesting and well written hub. You have clearly put a lot of effort into your research, as your brain went off on tangents of death lol. I don't think I would like the current burial approach. I would prefer to keep things natural, a quick burial or cremation. Maybe it is just me, but I would like to keep the memories of when those that are close to me were alive as my last memories of them (although, that may not always be possible).

Shared, pinned tweeted, up, awesome and interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by Jen. Always glad to have you. I was surprised when I read about the home funerals too. I just happened to come across it in my research for other things and decided I had to include it.


Jen 3 years ago

This certainly is a very informative article. I was surprised to learn that people are allowed to take care of their own loved ones body after they die and have wakes in their homes. Very interesting information and useful too.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thanks for reading & commenting Shyron. Everyone can't be the same.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

mperrottet, thank you for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub! People are living longer all the time. 67 is young, so you should have no concerns for Feb. 17th or your birthday just yet. ;)


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Askme, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub, and for sharing your experience! Now I have something more to add to this hub when I get a few minutes -- but for the record, once a person dies there is no more growth of nails or hair. The skin dehydrates and dries out causing it to shrink which causes the nails to seem longer and makes the hair seem more plentiful.


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Angela Blair, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub and for sharing your personal experience with some of the things discussed in it, and thereby adding important information. I hope the information here is helpful to lots of people, but I've already discovered there are things I've left out, so I'll have to add more related subjects soon. Thanks again!


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

byshea, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub. February 17th is less than 2 weeks off, so you and your mom be careful! ;)


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W, thank you for reading, commenting, voting, an sharing this hub. Glad you found it to be informative. I try to make all my hubs educational.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you rajan jolly for reading and commenting on this hub. I had hoped it would answer some of the many questions some people have about what happens to people's bodies after death, etc. All that info about when people die was a complete surprise to me too. Had no idea there was information about that available.


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Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you moonlake for reading, commenting, and voting on this hub. Also very much appreciate your sharing your personal experience with a home funeral, and the story of the little dog.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Alecia Murphy, thank you for taking time to check out my hub and leave a comment. Appreciate you sharing information regarding the deaths of your parents, too. Death is scary for some people, but really it's a natural part of life and as you say, we will all face it at some point. I think perhaps the thing that is most scary for a lot of people is whether or not it will be painful, and of course there's no absolute answer to that because we can't interview people who have passed on. Thanks again for stopping by!


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

Great research on this. I'm at the age (67) where I have to think about what kind of burial I want, so this was all interesting to me. Hopefully, my DNA hasn't determined that my death will be anytime in the near future. I'll be especially careful around my birthday and February 17th, however. Voted up and interesting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

billybuc, thank you for reading and commenting on this hub and for sharing your related experience. In fact the soul has no weight and would be hard to locate for the purpose of measuring. ;)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Very interesting and informative hub. It does not seem to fit with any of the death dates of my relatives. I find myself checking when working on genealogy. I guess my family is just different.


Askme profile image

Askme 3 years ago

Interesting subject. I once worked at a cemetery and did not find it creepy at all but fascinating.

I heard your nails and hair continue to grow in death? Fact or fiction?

Voted up and interesting.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas

Exceptional and interesting Hub -- and it surely answered a lot of questions for me. As a child I recall all family members who died were brought to the ranch to lie in state for a full day and night -- and the adult men sat up with the body all night. The next morning the deceased was taken to our small, country town for a church service/funeral and then buried. As strange as it seems (and as little as I was at the time) it always seemed all the relatives that gathered to mourn the death seemed to take hope and comfort from the others. Perhaps all the old ways weren't so out of touch after all. Best/Sis


byshea profile image

byshea 3 years ago

Wow....... Feb, 17th? I just read this to my mother and we were both intensely interested. Great hub!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Terrific hub covering many of the aspects related to death and how a body is cared for after death. Some of this I knew and other parts were completely new to me. Thanks for compiling this. Your hub should really do well. UUI votes and will share.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

My grandfather's wake was at my grandparent's home. The funeral home took care of him then brought him back to my grandmother's home. People came in all day and even during the evening people were up he was never alone. He had met a little dog down by the river while he was fishing, the day before he died. The dog showed up at the house and came in and laid down beside the casket.

Very interesting hub. Voted up.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Awesome information, most of it learning about it for the first time. Like, the time of death being predetermined by our DNA. I had read that the soul was not weightless. Great research and information, Au fait. Reading certain portions was not easy though.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 3 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Thinking about it, this makes a lot of sense. My paternal grandmother died three days after her birthday and my maternal grandmother died about a little less than three months after her birthday. And if I remember right they died around early afternoon.

As with anything in life, death has its own process and order. Scary as it is, it's something we all have to face. Very interesting hub!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great job of research. Very interesting! My dad died three days before his birthday; my mom one month after hers. I would have to check family records on all the others.

I was just reading a novel the other day that mentioned the body weighs less by about the weight of four quarters after death. Of course, they wanted us to believe that was the soul departing the body....a little hard to prove and/or digest. :)

Thanks for the information and great job on this one.

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