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The Mortality Club

The Unthinkable

I have been watching a television series entitled Strange and Unusual Deaths. The dramatized tales are based on true stories. All of the deaths are so strange as to be literally “unthinkable.” For example, envision a healthy thirty-year-old girl in her one room apartment on the 22nd floor of an apartment building in one of New York City’s better neighborhoods. We’ll call her Livia. It’s late afternoon and Livia had just laid down for a well-deserved nap. Deep under the street below her window workers are attempting to repair a leak in a steam pipe that provides heat to all of the buildings in her neighborhood. One of the workers neglects to empty out the water that had accumulated in the pipe before turning the steam back on. When the boiling steam hits the water, it creates a huge pressure that blows a violent river of boiling steam, rock and debris straight into the air. The rumbles awaken Livia. She sits up in bed and looks horrified as the blast rips through her window. Flying debris and rocks attack her body like shrapnel from a dirty bomb. She dies an unimaginable death. Read More 
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Dying to be With You

The Hindu ritual known as Sati during which the widow throws her body on the flames that are turning her husband’s corpse into ash is rarely practiced today. It was prevalent when the role of a Hindu woman was solely to service her man. When he died, her reason for living disappeared. She was declared in-valid, irrelevant, as though already dead. Grief so consumed her that she already felt like her flesh was already on fire. Jumping into the flames held no terror; only the promise of reuniting with her mate.

The ritual of Sati has beome virtually non-existent. That’s happened, in part, because widows are no longer regarded as in-valids who have lost their reason for being. Widows are no more likely than widowers to die, or to want to die, as a result of the death of their mate. The sense of loss that overwhelms when a loved one dies, is not gender-specific. It afflicts both men and women. And, it is not age-specific. Both young and old can be so consumed by grief that they choose to die rather than to live without their mate.  Read More 
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Hope: the Ultimate Antidote?

I have an acquaintance who is suffering from advanced ovarian cancer. The cancer has metastizeed and is now in her lungs, her liver, and her kidney. She is in constant pain. Finding it hard to eat, she has lost almost half of her body weight. Though a tall woman, she now weighs less than a hundred pounds. Over the last three years, she has exhausted every possible treatment option that the best of American medicine has to offer. When told by her doctors that there was nothing more they could do, she refused to give up hope.

She travelled to Germany to a clinic that offered a menus of alternative cancer treatments that are unavailable in the U.S.: radio-wave hyperthermia, mistletoe therapy, photodynamic therapy, insulin potentiated chemotherapy, Galvano Electro therapy, vaccines, and so forth. When the German doctors failed to halt the progress of her cancer, she booked herself into one of the sixty cancer hospitals and clinics operating in Tijuana, Mexico. The clinic she chose claimed that they had discovered a virus that would literally eat her cancer, thereby ridding her body of the disease. As I write this, she is still under their care, so I cannot comment on the outcome. Read More 
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