There is something worse than being invited to spend Christmas with difficult relatives. Being forgotten:
Two hundred thousand people disappear every year in the UK; of those, 2,000 will remain missing. Some, of course, are murdered; some just wish to disappear, which is easy if you really want it – move home, move job, toss your telephone into the river. The US has 40,000 sets of what are called “unclaimed remains”. Many more are simply forgotten by their friends or family – according to a Help the Aged report of 2007, hundreds of thousands of elderly people in Britain go without visitors from month to month; more than a million said they were often or always lonely
Waiting for death alone and unafraid.
Thanks to GetReligion for this one.
Dr. Ezz-El-Din Abu El-Aish (I hope I am transliterating correctly) is a Palestinian gynecologist from Beit Lahiya, in the NE corner of the Gaza Strip. He works at Israel’s largest hospital, Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv.
This impressive and peaceful man has been stranded at home during the war. Israel’s Channel 10 TV has regularly interviewed him by phone about the situation. On one occasion, a tank gun aimed at his home – and Israeli media intervention saved him.
. . . What we see in the clip is Israeli anchor Shlomi Eldar holding a cellphone with Dr. Abu El-Aish on the other side, howling with misery. A tank shell has just hit his home and immediately killed three of his children (apparently they cut off the first seconds when the shell actually hit).
(Use the player menu to turn on the subtext … . Thanks to England’s England for bringing this video to our attention.)
Democracy Now has a Palestinian Astrophysicist in US recounting how His 11-year-old son died when Israeli warplanes bombed his family’s house.
Theologian Richard John Neuhaus on death as recalled by David Brooks. Neuhaus recounted his near-death experience:
“I was sitting up staring intently into the darkness, although in fact I knew my body was lying flat,” he later wrote in an essay called “Born Toward Dying” in his magazine, First Things. “What I was staring at was a color like blue and purple, and vaguely in the form of hanging drapery. By the drapery were two ‘presences.’ I saw them and yet did not see them, and I cannot explain that …
“And then the presences — one or both of them, I do not know — spoke. This I heard clearly. Not in an ordinary way, for I cannot remember anything about the voice. But the message was beyond mistaking: ‘Everything is ready now.’ “
That was the end of Neuhaus’ vision but not his experience. “I pinched myself hard, and ran through the multiplication tables, and recalled the birth dates of my seven brothers and sisters, and my wits were vibrantly about me. The whole thing had lasted three or four minutes, maybe less. I resolved at that moment that I would never, never let anything dissuade me from the reality of what had happened. Knowing myself, I expected I would later be inclined to doubt it. It was an experience as real, as powerfully confirmed by the senses, as anything I have ever known.”
Ours is a skeptical era and that did not erode Neuhaus’ faith:
“Be assured that I neither fear to die nor refuse to live. If it is to die, all that has been is but a slight intimation of what is to be. If it is to live, there is much I hope to do in the interim.”
The rest is here.