_____[61] – v. to die en route to someone else’s funeral

The _____[49]grief was compounded by the additional loss of three elderly relatives from out of state who _____[61]ed on the way to their child’s funeral.


_____[38] – n. bearer of sad tidings:

Being the _____[38] was complicated by the the search for all of their parents’ friends’ phone numbers. Since both their parents’ phones and computers were in the mangled remains of their car and were currently considered evidence, the _____[74]s resorted to googling names and last known addresses. As awful as it was each time they had to inform someone that their dear friend was dead, it was worse when the person on the other end had to explain that they had called the wrong number.


_____ [59] – v. to mourn for someone/something (often a celebrity) that you never knew personally but you feel connected to somehow:

In the years after the attack on the playground, whenever she read about another mass shooting, she_____[59]ed all the victims.


_____[130] – n. your last goodbye either in person, on the phone, via email or any other form of communication to someone before one of you dies:

She had planned to say her_____[130] to her grandfather in a letter but his cancer moved faster than the US postal service. 


_____ [115] – v. repeatedly and ineffectively explaining that someone has died to a person who does not have the cognitive capacity to comprehend the meaning of death:

The _____[74] dreaded the weekly task of_____ [115]ing to his toddler. He longed for the day that his son would finally understand that his Mimi could never take him out for ice cream again.


_____ [91]  – 1. n. door that no longer opens into the world of a loved one;

_____ [91]  – 2. n. family member or friend who has lost the ability to recognize you:

The first time he visited his beloved grandmother in the early evening he was shocked to discover that sundowning had transformed her into _____ [91]. He had stopped by earlier in the day and she beamed as she opened the door and saw his face. How had her dementia morphed his physical being into a _____[157]  in the waning light?

Photographic illustrations of _____ [91]


_____[200]– n. competitive mourner:

While it can be useful to think of mourning as marathon, it should go without saying that no one wins any laurel crowns or blue ribbons for grieving. Though it can be challenging to be around a _____[200] who wants to tell you how quickly she returned to work or how many years of therapy it took him to recover, it helps to remember that they are often just looking for validation.


_____[25] – v. to nurture a person, plant, animal, or relationship out of devotion to someone who has died:

The  _____[74] had hoped to _____ [25] her parents’  eclectic collection of orchids for many years. Despite her efforts though, the temperamental plants all withered within  a few months.


_____ [29] – n. eulogy delivered by someone who has never met the deceased:

Sweet pigs and chickens, a terrible_____ [77] may be awkward to sit through but a _____ [29] makes any funeral feel infinitely more depressing.


_____[131] – n. argument that can not be resolved because one of the participants dies:

When she read about techniques used to treat phantom limb pain, she wished that there was a similar treatment for the suffering caused by _____[131]. If only there was a way to receive a _____ [35] that simply said, “You are forgiven.” or “There will be plenty of time to reconcile our differences in the afterlife.” A professional forger or skywriter could make a fortune by providing that service for mourners.


_____[173] – n. an overlooked or insignificant detail from a pre_____[27] moment that gains greater significance in  post_____[27]:

Going back through photos for the memorial service, the _____[39] stopped at a picture taken exactly one year before. He was overwhelmed by the _____[173] of her shirt which exclaimed in block letters, “Wish You Were Here.”  It felt like a magical aaaaaaaaaaa[35] and he _____[12]ed. 


_____[81] n. season after the casseroles stop arriving and other people go back to their lives:

Another _____[74] warned her that she would be enveloped by feelings of isolation and resentment when _____[81] started. She was embarrassed to admit that this was also when she noticed her _____[31] for the first time. She was so envious of the people who could just return to their pre_____[27] routines and life.


_____ [35] – n. communication via email, text, letter, or voicemail that arrives after the sender has died:

He did not know why his wife was _____ [12] until he saw the handwriting on the envelope and realized  that she was holding a _____[35] from her sister.


_____[46] – v. to lie about the cause of someone’s death (often caused by _____[20]):

His mother stammered and _____[46]ed to their friends because she blamed herself for his brother’s suicide.


_____[49] – n. parent who outlives a child:

Are the words orphan and widow just vestiges from a time when they were classes of people who required legal guardians to take control of their finances and property? Would the English language have names for a _____[49] a _____[74], a semi_____[74], and a _____[41] if they were legal entities that required custodial care?


_____[36] – n. guilt caused by _____ [31]:

The _____[36] towards her mom sometimes made it challenging to spend time with some of her mother’s close friends. She could not admit to them that she felt tremendous _____ [31] because they had been in the midst of a prolonged _____[131]



_____ [31] – n. anger at someone for dying:

While it may be normal to feel _____ [31] towards your father, she had no idea how to discuss the _____[99] generated by the remains of a robotic _____[7]. After watching audiences respond to L3-37 in Solo, however, she thought more people could be sympathetic to her rather bizarre situation now.


aaaaaaaaaa [32] – n. date when you have lived more of your life without someone than you did with them:

Another aaaaaaaaa[41] confided that he really struggled when he realized that he had passed the aaaaaaaaaa[32] for his older brother. He found himself measuring his life up against what he imagined his brother would have accomplished in that time and triggered his greatest insecurities.


_____ [43] – n. funeral, burial, or memorial for a _____[7]:

When her phone began to malfunction, she struggled with an irrational suspicion that electronic overlords were punishing her for tossing her family’s robotic  _____[7]into a dumpster without any sort of_____ [43]. Of course, she knew that this  _____[7]  had been mechanically inoperable for more than a decade and maybe even longer. Perhaps if her father or her family could have articulated their relationship to the little electronic family member, someone could have planned a more compassionate _____ [43] and everyone would have felt a greater sense of closure. One of the curses of being a veritable pioneer of the information age, however, was that language for situations like this had not been invented yet. You can not adequately mourn something that you can not properly acknowledge.

Photographic illustration of _____ [43]


_____ [82] – n. period of time that it takes to grasp that this nightmare is your new reality:

She grew weary of the  _____[200]s who compared  _____[82]s to prove how deeply they were traumatized or how devoted they were to the deceased.


_____ [108] – v. to lick tears off someone’s face:

Our little  _____[7] was so busy   _____[108]ing her mom in the months after the funerals that she barely had time to thwap her squeaky zebra cow toy or gnaw her rawhide.


_____[99] – n. guilt of inheriting something that makes you uncomfortable or that you do not want:

She did not have space to keep the twelve place settings of china from her grandmother so she assuaged her _____[99] by giving them to a family member with a bigger house and a formal dining room.

Audio illustration of _____[99]


_____ [5] – n. fear of forgetting the sound of a dead person’s voice:

One_____[74]‘s_____ [5] was so severe that she _____ [48]ed her parents every day until the phone company disconnected their number.


_____ [27] – n. traumatic event that redefines your life by bisecting time into pre_____ [27] and post_____ [27]:

Even though it took many weeks before her _____[82],  in the out of body moment when she heard herself screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” she realized that she had abruptly arrived at a _____ [27].


_____[24] – n. fear of being asked how are you because you know people do not really want to know the answer:

Some things grew easier with repetition in the days after the funeral but her _____[24] increased every time she went out alone.