• 2016’s Most Memorable Death Articles and More

    2016 will very likely be remembered as the year of the Dead Celebrity. Prince was certainly a tough death for Death Ref. And yet, a…

  • Seeing The AIDS Memorial Quilt in New York in 2014

    Photos: See The AIDS Quilt On Governors Island Gothamist (August 12, 2014) On Monday and Tuesday of last week, a portion of the AIDS Memorial…

  • Section of AIDS Memorial Quilt on Display Next Week in New York

    See the AIDS Quilt in NYC for First Time in a Decade Irene Plagianos, DNAInfo New York (August 6, 2014) In an unexpected turn of…

  • Day 23: Death Ref John as a 19th Century Postmortem Photograph

    Professor Bellows Photography Mall of America, Minneapolis, MN (USA) In summer 2006, Argentinian artist Ana Lois-Borzi and I collaborated on a postmortem photography project. Ana…

  • Day 22: People Taking Selfies at the 9/11 Memorial, because #America

    Selfies from the 9/11 Memorial Leah Finnegan, The Awl (July 21, 2014) Let us begin Day 22 of the 31 Days of Death posts with…

  • Repost: Juanita Garciagodoy (March 10, 1952 – October 27, 2011)

    In honor of the one year anniversary of Juanita’s death, I’m again sharing the memorial post I wrote for her. If you missed it last…

  • Virtual Graves for Armistice Day

    How to visit a Virtual Grave Alison Winward, The Guardian (November 10, 2010)   Armistice Day Marked Around the World – In Pictures The Guardian…

  • 10 Years

    This American Life In this show, we return to people who’ve been on This American Life in the last ten years, whose lives were drastically…

  • Praise the Lord and Pass the Cremated Remains Filled Ammunition

    Holy Smoke Planning a loved ones final arrangements can be a challenging responsibility, one you want to do with care and consideration. Allow Holy Smoke…

  • Enter now the FBI into the Arlington Cemetery Debacle

    Arlington Cemetery’s Mishandling of Remains Prompts FBI Criminal Probe Jerry Markon and Christian Davenport, The Washington Post (June 29, 2011) The Justice Department is investigating…

  • The Value-added Tombstone

    QR Codes Are Appearing on (Ready for This?) Tombstones Julio Ojeda-Zapata, TwinCities.com/Pioneer Press (May 20, 2011) What’s the next best thing to placing flowers on…

  • Keeping Your Dead Pets Alive Forever

    Furever
    Amy Finkel, Director

    We humans love our pets. A lot. We love them so much that when they die the grieving process can become overwhelming. Over the last ten years the number of companies and funeral homes offering pet memorialization services, products, and bereavement literature have ballooned.

    Meg came across the following in-development documentary on pet loss. The film, Furever, has got chops so we’re throwing its director, Amy Finkel, a Death Ref bone.

    Ok. Enough with the bad metaphors and puns.

    The Death Reference Desk has been running dead pet stories for a long time and we are more than happy to add this one to the list.

    Two words: Freeze Drying.

    Furever is a documentary exploration of pet preservation, or, the processes by which a deceased pet is professionally conserved. I have shot forty hours of footage of one technique, freeze-drying, which produces disarmingly lifelike results. This seemingly bizarre practice offers a unique perspective on mortality, grief, and mourning. The concepts investigated in Furever will disarm anyone who might want to dismiss the subjects as mere oddball caricatures.

     

    Furever contributes to the dialogue on death and grief, bewildering aspects of the human condition, begun by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, dovetailing with the growing trend toward pet anthropomorphism, and the anguish that befalls the owners of deceased pets. Many dismiss or judge pet preservationists for being “unbalanced,” yet the assorted rituals in place for deceased human loved ones, while precious to those who practice them, often seem odd or unusual to outsiders.

    Furever Amy Finkel, Director We humans love our pets. A lot. We love them so much that when they die the grieving process can become…