With new momentum to shatter long-standing taboos and stop tip-toeing around death — from “death with dignity” measures sweeping the country to projects promoting kitchen table “conversations” about our parents’ deepest dying wishes — a re-energized DIY death movement is emerging.
There’s a social network for dead people Published November 21, 2013FoxNews.com social-network-for-dead-neshama.jpg NESHAMA.INFO If you have a pulse, this social network is not for you. Israeli entrepreneur Shelly Furman Asa spent an estimated $40,000 to build Neshama.info in order to preserve and record headstones in Israel. “It’s a kind of social network for the dead, or for their relatives,” Asa told Israeli paper Haaretz. ” That’s what I was after on my website, [also in English, though names of the deceased can only be searched in Hebrew]. We worked on it for a year, and it went online last month. Asa hopes that Neshama, which means soul in Hebrew, will be a way for people to commemorate their loved ones. “There are many things that have been done in connection with the commemoration of soldiers, Holocaust victims and so on. But we don’t have simple ways to commemorate – with high visibility – ordinary, everyday people who did not die in heroic circumstances.” There are currently 120,000 gravestones on the site and Asa has plans to continue to expand the site.
A daughter lost a father, friends lost a loved one and movie fans lost a heartthrob actor when 40-year-old Paul Walker died Saturday after the red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT he was riding in as a passenger crashed and caught fire in Santa Clarita, Calif.
The news of his death, accompanied by photos of his piercing blue eyes, quickly went viral, with some people hoping this was just another celebrity-death hoax. But it wasn’t. Walker, who starred in the Fast and Furious films as undercover agent Brian O’ Conner, did die.
To grieve, people rallied on social media. On Twitter, “RIPPaulWalker,” “Fast & Furious” and “Brian O’ Connor” became worldwide trending topics, and remained so well into Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, his Fast and Furiouscostars shared memories and condolences on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Fans on Facebook organized in-person gatherings to pay tribute to Walker. Across social platforms, people quoted lines from his movies.
"A lot has changed," reads one quote, from 2009’s Fast & Furious.
And a lot will change as the film franchise, which has earned more than $2.3 billion worldwide since 2001, scrambles to decide the brand’s future. Filming for Fast & Furious 7 began in September, but the cast and crew was on break at the time of Walker’s death.
Will Universal Pictures find a replacement, incorporate his death into the film or do something else?
Will Universal Pictures find a replacement, incorporate his death into the film or do something else?
Universal executives and director James Wan met Sunday to discuss how to move on without Walker. While the movie won’t be scrapped, it may be delayed, according toHollywood Reporter. If its current schedule remains intact, however, the film will arrive in theaters this July.
The film’s Facebook page, which has more than 40 million Likes, released a tribute, below, on Sunday. The comment thread, like many comment threads about Walker’s passing, is serving as a digital memorial.
An unconfirmed quote, supposedly said by Walker at some point, is also making the rounds. It reads, “If one day the speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling.” Despite knowing whether Walker really said those words, the phrase has been incorporated into photos of him, and shared widely across social media.
Walker’s Final Moments
Following a death nowadays, social-media users have unprecedented access to official reports and clues to a celebrity’s final moments. Law enforcement agencies, coroner’s offices, businesses and witnesses are routinely on social media, and together with news reports from trusted media outlets, they offer insight into what might have happened.
Speed was a factor in Walker’s fatal accident, which killed two people, according to tweeted reports from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Walker was the passenger in a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT reportedly driven by Roger Rodas, his friend and owner of car-customization shop Always Evolving. On Saturday, the Facebook page for Always Evolving posted a photo of this red Porsche, which may be the car that crashed, burst into flames and killed Walker and Rodas. Though it’s unclear whether this is the exact car involved in the crash, it is a Porsche Carrera GT and it was at the event.
Prior to the crash, Walker was at an Always Evolving toy drive, where race cars were on display and people were collecting toys for victims of natural disasters. Jim Torp, an attendee at the event, told People that after Walker and Rodas drove away in the Porsche, he heard a loud bang and saw smoke a block away, so people rushed to the scene and saw the vehicle on fire.
Wreckage of fiery crash immediately surfaced across social platforms:
"The scene was chaotic," Torp told People. “There were probably about 20 friends and employees, screaming and crying, who had grabbed fire extinguishers and had been doing what they could to rescue the guys. The fire department and sheriffs had just arrived, as well, and they were trying to secure the scene.”
Walker’s 15-year-old daughter, Meadow Rain, was also at the toy drive. Rodas was a father of two.
A day after the crash, mourners gathered at the scene of the accident, on the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia, Santa Clarita Valley. Los Angeles Times reporter James Barragan is using Twitter and Instagram to share live updates from the scene, including an emotional Instagram video of Fast and Furious costar Tyrese Gibson crying as he visited the makeshift memorial for Walker and Rodas.
Rodas and Walker were taking the Porsche for a “joyride before taking it back to warehouse,” Barragan heard Torp saying at the scene. Barragan also tweeted, “Walker was happy and joking with ppl at event minutes before his death,” according to a witness.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department posted the following report online, which describes the accident. It said the coroner will eventually release the cause of death for both victims:
Sheriff’s deputies from Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to a report of a traffic collision at approximately 3:30PM in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop, Valencia, on Saturday, November 30, 2013.
When they arrived, deputies found the vehicle engulfed in flames. The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded, extinguished the fire and subsequently located two victims inside the vehicle. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of the collision is under investigation by traffic investigators with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Office of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner will determine the identities and the cause of death of the victims.
If you have any information about the cause of the collision, please call sheriff’s traffic investigators at 661-255-1121. Or if you wish to remain anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org
Representatives managing Walker’s Facebook and Twitter accounts posted messages to confirm the actor’s death.
TMZ also shared its last known footage of Walker, which was recorded on Sept. 10, below:
Whether realized at the time they are said or only in hindsight, nearly everyone will express a word, phrase or sentence that proves the last thing he or she ever says while alive. Sometimes profound, sometimes everyday, here you will find a select collection of the last words spoken by U.S. presidents.
George Washington (1732-1799) I die hard, but I am not afraid to go.
John Adams (1735-1826) Thomas Jefferson…
Adams’ last words are often cited as “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” While both men died July 4, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence — Jefferson actually died several hours earlier that day. While Adams would not have known this, there is no conclusive evidence that he actually included the words “still survives” before he expired.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) I resign my spirit to God, my daughter to my country.
Jefferson’s last words are often cited as “Is it the Fourth?” — the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. While he did earlier ask this on his deathbed, these were not his last words.
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) This is the last of Earth! I am content!
James Polk (1795-1849) I love you, Sarah. For all eternity, I love you.
Polk said this to his wife, who was at his side when he died in bed.
Zachary Taylor (1784-1850) I regret nothing, but I am sorry that I am about to leave my friends.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) She won’t think anything about it.
Lincoln spoke these words in answer to wife Mary’s question concerning what another woman, seated next to them in Ford’s Theatre, would think if she spotted the Lincolns holding hands.
Andrew Johnson (1808-1875) I need no doctor. I can overcome my own troubles.
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) Water.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919) Please put out the light.
Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) That’s good. Go on, read some more.
Harding said this to his wife, Florence, as she read complimentary newspaper pieces about the president in their San Francisco hotel suite during a presidential trip to Alaska and the West Coast.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) I have a terrific pain in the back of my head.
"FDR" died of a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke) not long after.
Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) I want to go. I’m ready to go. God, take me.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) No, you certainly can’t.
Jacqueline Kennedy testified on June 5, 1964, that these were Kennedy’s last words — or “something” to this effect — in response to the statement by Nellie Connally, the wife of Texas Governor John Connally, who remarked just before an assassin’s bullet struck the president: “You certainly can’t say that the people of Dallas haven’t given you a nice welcome.”
Richard Nixon (1913-1994) Help.
While suffering a stroke, Nixon called out to his housekeeper. The president died the next day.
On a warm evening in late August, Betsy Trapasso, a 51-year-old former hospice social worker, gathered seven friends at a seafood restaurant in Topanga, Calif., for an unlikely purpose. She wanted to talk about death.
Over the course of the three-hour meal, with the Santa Monica Mountains as a backdrop, the friends discussed losing loved ones, the reasons why people find it so difficult to discuss death and dying, and how they wanted their own lives to end.
One dinner guest had recently become the caregiver for an elderly neighbor. When that neighbor had to be admitted to the hospital, Trapasso’s friend didn’t know if the person had made any decisions about whether to be kept on life support, which prompted much soul-searching. “My friend began thinking about what he wanted when his own time came,” Trapasso recalls.
Trapasso and her friends aren’t alone when it comes to discussing end-of-life issues in the open—more and more people across the country are asking each other similar questions. How much medical intervention do I want to keep me alive? Can I afford long-term medical care? Have I made sure that my family won’t be financially burdened by my death? The fact that Americans are living longer than ever before, not to mention that many lack the savings to sustain a long retirement—let alone pricey long-term care—makes it more important than ever to pose these questions.
And, for many people these days, one effective way to share their very personal end-of-life decisions and desires with friends and family is to host “death dinners.” The hope is that gathering over a meal will make discussing the topic of dying a little more palatable, while also sparing loved ones from fighting over financial and medical issues down the road.
“Financial issues at end of life cause so many problems and concerns for people,” says Trapasso, who now works as an end-of-life guide. “I have seen people struggle with whether to leave money for their kids or do medical treatments. I’ve had men ask me if it was cheaper for them to just die, so their wives wouldn’t lose the house. It astonished me.”