Suicide Contagion

“Consider Marilyn Monroe, whose August 1962 suicide saw a 12 percent increase in suicides over the next 12 months; indeed a study published in February in PLoS One found that the August 2014 suicide of Robin Williams touched off a 9.85 percent increase in suicides by the following December, resulting in an “excess” of 1,841 suicide cases. When your persona is ubiquitous, it seems, so are your troubles.”

—Jared Keller. “How Celebrity Deaths Reveal the Hidden Threat of Suicide Contagion.” Pacific Standard. June 12, 2018.

Modern Dying

“I have heard it said that modern dying means dying more, dying over longer periods, enduring more uncertainty, subjecting ourselves and our families to more disappointments and despair. As we are enabled to live longer, we are also condemned to die longer. In that case, it should come as no surprise that some of us seek out the means to bring a dignified end to the ordeal, while we are still capable of deciding matters for ourselves. Where is the crime in that? A sorrowful goodbye, a chance to kiss each beloved face for the last time before sleep descends, pain retreats, dread dissolves, and death is defeated by death itself.”

—Cory Taylor, Dying: A Memoir. (Portland, OR: Tin House Books, 2017), 140-141.