Archive for the Thanatology Category

Dead People: Crypt of The Capuchin Monks

Posted in Cemetery, Death, Funeral, Future, Ghosts, Gratitude, History, Inspiration, Life, Memorialization, Mortuary, Musing, Poetry, Relationships, Spirits, Thanatology, Thought For Today, Tradition with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2014 by Morguie
Capela dos Ossos in Évora

Capela dos Ossos in Évora (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Capela dos ossos en Faro, capital del Algarve,...

Capela dos ossos en Faro, capital del Algarve, Portugal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There is a sacred space in the catacombs of Rome — an ossuary (a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains–wikipedia) which is dedicated as the tomb for possibly 4000 Capuchin clerics. Much can be found regarding how these bones came to be placed within this extensive tunnel- lined underground burial place, and we have included some links, below.

Additionally, there are SEVERAL other locations with similar crypts, one in particular which holds a significant inscripted poem, beseeching the visitors to think about death. Capela dos Ossos in Portugal, serves to remind us of our mere mortality and temporary station in the world as humans.


Capela dos ossos' entrance warning ("We b...

Capela dos ossos’ entrance warning (“We bones, lying here, for yours we wait”) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our goal was more to point out the interesting poem that can be found within the walls of this place.

We felt that was more thought-provoking and appropriate to the subject of the meaning of life, and death, and where we figure in the scheme of things when each of us gets down to it, really.

We felt it was trying to tell us, as we looked at the eerie bones stacked up along the walls, and into the fleshless skulls piled high: Hey YOU, do not hurry past us so quickly! Your curiosity brought you this far, now stay a minute and LOOK at US! SEE us? YES! We are dead, and you, my friends, shall be dead too, someday. Yes, it IS an uncomfortable thought isn’t it? But we want you to slow down and think about who we were, what we were, what we did in life, what we contributed to the world as living human beings—then we want you to think about what YOU are doing with your own life, with your own gifts, and what you are giving to your own world around you. Are you making the best of what you have and doing what you ought? The longer you pause to ponder these things here, the wiser you shall be, the better you shall hope, the better you shall live out your days afterward…

We are crediting the

following to the Wikipedia where it included a number of pages dedicated to this place and its history, and this wonderful, solemn poem—in the original Italian along with an English translation:

English: Evora, Capela dos Ossos (Church of bo...

English: Evora, Capela dos Ossos (Church of bones) detail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Capela dos Ossos

Capela dos Ossos (Photo credit: G_Morales)



Inside the Capela dos Ossos a poem about the need to reflect on one’s existence hangs in an old wooden frame on one of the pillars. It is attributed to Fr. António da Ascenção Teles, parish priest of the village of São Pedro (wherein the Church of Saint Francis with its Capela dos Ossos was erected) from 1845 to 1848.

Aonde vais, caminhante, acelerado?
Pára…não prossigas mais avante;
Negócio, não tens mais importante,
Do que este, à tua vista apresentado.

Recorda quantos desta vida têm passado,
Reflecte em que terás fim semelhante,
Que para meditar causa é bastante
Terem todos mais nisto parado.

Pondera, que influido d’essa sorte,
Entre negociações do mundo tantas,
Tão pouco consideras na morte;

Porém, se os olhos aqui levantas,
Pára…porque em negócio deste porte,
Quanto mais tu parares, mais adiantas.

por Padre António da Ascenção

Where are you going in such a hurry traveler?
Stop … do not proceed;
You have no greater concern,
Than this one: that on which you focus your sight.

Recall how many have passed from this world,
Reflect on your similar end,
There is good reason to reflect
If only all did the same.

Ponder, you so influenced by fate,
Among the many concerns of the world,
So little do you reflect on death;

If by chance you glance at this place,
Stop … for the sake of your journey,
The more you pause, the further on your journey you will be.

by Fr. António da Ascenção (translation by Fr. Carlos A. Martins, CC)

©2014, C.S. Thompson.


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2013: A Special Year For Us — Thanks Everybody!!

Posted in Airplane crash, American Military, bereavement, Cemetery, D-Day, Death, Divorce, Embalming Room, Eulogy, FOOD, Friendship, Funeral, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Ghosts, Government Shutdown, Gratitude, Grief, Halloween, Haunting, Heroism, Holidays, Humor, Inspiration, Insurance, Korean War, Life, Losing A Parent, Loss, Love, Memorialization, Mortuary, Mortuary Management magazine, Mourning, Musing, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Patriot's Day, Pets, Poetry, Relationships, Remembrance, Rodeo, Soldiers, Thanatology, Thought For Today, Veterans, WAR, WWII with tags , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by Morguie

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Morguie Chats With C J : What Does It All Mean?

Posted in American Military, bereavement, Cemetery, Death, Embalming Room, Funeral, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Government Shutdown, Grief, Life, Losing A Parent, Loss, Mortuary, Mourning, Soldiers, Thanatology, Thought For Today, Tragic death, Veterans, WAR, WWII with tags , on October 9, 2013 by Morguie


Death knows no holiday, the old saying goes, but tonight it managed to take a few hours off…and so on this late evening, C J finds herself downstairs in the old mortuary, scrubbing away her anger and outrage…the day’s news is just too much to bear. The mouse cannot sleep, either. Of course, he’s a comfort to C J in times of worry and upset. He pops through the opening in the baseboard, and skitters out onto the tiled floor, where C J has pulled away the prep-room tables and is applying great pressure to the scrub-brush over the ceramic and grout…

Morguie: “Hey…you are going to scrub the color right off of that tile if you keep going, you know…”

C J: “Yeah, I guess so…I know, let’s take a break…”


She and the mouse went outside, and sat on the steps. C J took out a cigarette, lit it, and looked up at the blackness of the heavens. A sliver of the moon barely visible amongst the passing clouds, she noted an autumn chill in the night air. It was definitely October.

Morguie: “C J? Why is the government messing with people? Like the dead soldiers’ families?”

Coming_home_s640x427C J: “ Mouse, if I knew the real reason I sure as hell wouldn’t be down here scrubbing an already cleaned floor…”

Morguie: “I heard that the President and Congress weren’t going to pay those families of the troops killed in action their death benefits…is that really true?”

C J: “Yes, Mouse, I am afraid it is true.”

Morguie: “Well, gosh, how much IS a death benefit if you are killed in action?”

C J: “It’s only $100,000.00 Mouse.”

Morguie’s eyes widened…that would buy a LOT of crackers…”Wow! That’s A LOT!”


C J’s face darkened. She stopped before she could unleash her true wrath upon the rodent. He was, after all, just an animal. He couldn’t possibly know what $100,000.00 meant in this situation. So she took in a long draw off the cigarette and crushed it out,  while mentally putting together what she wanted to tell the mouse about the money…

C J: “Morguie? The benefits include $100,000 to each family; a 12-month basic allowance for housing, usually given in a lump sum to survivors commensurate with the rank of the service member; and burial benefits.


Let me see if I can say it in an even more understandable way for you, Mouse. Let’s say that there is a family named Jones. Mr. Jones is actually an Army Sgt. He has a wife and two little kids and one on the way.  Sgt. Jones is sent overseas to fight the war in Afghanistan and has to leave Mrs. Jones and the kids over here. “

Morguie: “Wow. That must be really hard for them to be without their dad…and Mrs. Jones is going to have a baby? Yikes!”

C J: “Well, Mousie, this is just a story…I made up the Jones family here…”

Morguie: “I know. But, I think I get it, kind of…that this government thing is happening to real people in real families just like them…”

C J: “ But Mouse, you said a few minutes ago about what a bunch of money you thought that ‘death benefit’ was…I want to just say this:  Let’s say Sgt. Jones is on a combat mission and is killed in action. The U.S. government sends his family what basically amounts to a life insurance policy settlement. It’s something…

$100,000.00 is NOTHING when you realize that Sgt. Jones will never be able to walk through the door of his home and into his loving family’s arms again;

it’s NOTHING when you realize that Sgt. Jones’ unborn baby will never know him;

it’s NOTHING when you realize Sgt. Jones’ children will have to grow up, learn to drive, walk down the aisle, or have their own children WITHOUT HIM to share those special moments in life with them;


  And that money could never hold his wife close, dry her tears, or tell her that everything will work out fine…”

Morguie: “So, what’s it all about?”


C J: “It is supposed to be aid to our precious fallen soldiers’ families, to help them with the everyday, all-the-time life-still-goes-on worries…so that they may take the time they need to grieve their irreplaceable, priceless, precious loved one…one who stood up to defend ALL OF US, and gave up his own life in doing so. “

Morguie: “You’re right. $100,000.00 is nothing at all.”

English: Chart summarizing data about U.S. tro...

English: Chart summarizing data about U.S. troops that were troops killed in action, died of wounds or accidents during the Iraq war by month during the till date period. Category:Iraq War casualties (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

©2013, C.S. Thompson.

After hours — Just A Mouse In The House

Posted in Death, Embalming Room, Funeral, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Grief, Haunting, Humor, Life, Loss, Mortuary, Mourning, Musing, Pets, Relationships, Spirits, Thanatology with tags , , , , on May 8, 2013 by Morguie

sepia bench

What could be a more dramatic opening for a ‘mortuary’ blog than the spooky setting of a darkened, quieted, and mysterious funeral home? We don’t know. But, it sparked your interest, didn’t it?

This blog is a journal of sorts, of a mouse who is a solitary soul dwelling within a mortuary. Naturally, you may ask, how it is that a mouse somehow transmits any intelligible information, much less communicates these thoughts to become a published journal?  And assuming such a fantastic feat could actually take place in the real-world, just who is the receiver and transcriber of this data? And WHY for heaven’s sake should a mouse bother, even?

Wake up, kids! It’s the INTERNET! Anything is possible right here on the Internet, RIGHT?


Morguie wants to speak to those readers who have more care and concern for simple day-to-day life and the underlying events which unfold for the humans encountered in the journal’s entries. Morguie’s perspective may be taken seriously, for further thought, and perhaps deeper reflection so that the reader may see some pearl of inter-personal wisdom or a glimmer of grace, humor, hope, forgiveness, or even a glimpse of the reader’s own soul. He prefers to speak to your inner-child, who is without judgment, and of the thought that anything can be possible. He’ll happily accept anyone who will fairly give him a moment and a chance. Actually ANYBODY with a bit of stale bread …

  Nothing in his entries is ever meant to be offensive, zealous, vitriolic, syrupy, patronizing, bloody gross, smelly or made with any disrespect or indignity. But sometimes, well…hey, yeah, death gets a bit…UNpleasant.

SOMETIMES, the posts MAY CONTAIN crackers, peanuts, and other edibles…the state made us put that in due to the food allergy rules.


  And if DEATH, the topic*, should cause you some discomfort and feelings of terror, he won’t mind if you leave the room, um, er, now. We recommend you stay, because, hey, you might just like us anyway!

 If that leaves just those with a healthy curiosity to the reading audience, Morguie says, “Welcome! Come On In!”

 CJ just happened to cross paths with the mouse, in much the same way as anyone might. It was the strange compassion within CJ, who had been tasked with the effective and permanent disposal of Morguie, that caused the wretched creature to be spared. This reprieve came with a condition: the mouse must take extraordinary care not to be seen or heard by the humans coming and going from the building. Failure of the mouse to uphold his end of the deal was surely cause for execution.


CJ, in turn, would keep the mouse and his journal alive in hopes of creating something good to share with others. Morguie ‘s real worry then, being detected. CJ’s hands would be tied if he were to get careless. Yep, the dreaded guillotine of the famous snap-trap or even worse, Chester, the housecat, predator in charge. Bye bye blog.


So, if you will kindly indulge him, allow Morguie  to introduce himself, and tell you a little about how he came to dwell here, in this old funeral parlor…

*We tossed that line in because we really don’t know if you “caught onto the idea” yet with the category, tags, clever blog site title, or other clues we’ve left lying about, so far. 

 never say never because that would limit our imaginations and stunt our thinking, which we are vehemently opposed to.

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