I'm Oliver Webber, here with my research assistant, Kaydence Ribetnauer. You may not be able to see us because we're tucked in between these blades of grass, waiting for our next meal to fly in and land on one of them. To nourish our bodies and souls, we ponder leaves. We encourage contemplation... especially in regard to issues that will have to be handled when we become worm grub. We hope to motivate others to thoughtfully cultivate preferences and decisions while still vigorously leaping around. We recommend croaking... using voices to broadcast wishes before it's too late to have a voice in this matter. Other than a sumptuous supply of insects, this is assuredly the most "toad-ally" considerate gift we could leave for our life companions! Don't you agree? We invite you to get your feet wet by joining our pond of pondering pre-planners. Let's make croaking meaningful!

Sunday, June 30, 2013



Have you ever been in the front seat of a car, next to a spouse or strongly connected life companion, when that individual verbalizes something you had just been thinking only a few seconds ago?  Such an occurrence is fascinating, invoking curious wonderment and yet another mystery for neuroscientists to investigate. 

Whether or not you’ve experienced this phenomenon, probably there are times when you wonder what is going on in the mind of a pivotal person whose life is merged with yours.  Maybe your curiosity relates to perceptions about your appearance, behavior, or longings for physical entwinement. Or maybe it simply has to do with which turn to make down the road a piece. 

Sometimes as a passenger in the car, you might expect to turn right, yet the driver turns left.  Heh?  You had made an assumption that didn’t mesh with the outcome.  Did you assume he would read your mind?  How was he to know what direction you deemed appropriate to follow? 

And so it is with pre-planning end-of-life arrangements.  How do you expect a person with whom you are closely bonded to know about your final wishes?  Do you presume he or she will read your mind sometime between now and when you die, or will you opt for intentional communication?

Do you even know what arrangements you favor?  First, use resources to beef up your awareness of options.  Explore a multitude of possibilities to enrich the information-gathering experience. Determine your inclinations and eliminate funerary courses of action to which you are opposed. Be surprised by the intriguing aspects of meeting your objectives. Record you determinations and then convey your preferences to life companions.   

NOW THERE IS AN EASY WAY FOR YOU TO COMPOSE A RECORD OF YOUR WISHES, thereby providing loved ones with a valuable instrument of guidance to use when needed.  Instead of accessing a pre-planning form limited to headings and requiring substantial writing, you have the simple option of completing a questionnaire.  

A COMPREHENSIVE QUESTIONNAIRE IS AVAILABLE HERE AS A FREE PRE-PLANNING TOOL, either for completing online or for downloading.  Fill out your own and ask others among your close companions to do likewise.  Print the record/s of responses and then you’ll have a tangible means for communicating content.  The document/s can serve as a springboard for discussion.  That way, your life partner or close companions will be sure to know what you are thinking.  And you will have prepared a gift of incalculable worth… an informative resource to store somewhere for future reference.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Anatomy Gifts Registry TISSUE BANK

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The Anatomy Gifts Registry relates to a passage, but not a wedding or new baby milestone that we ordinarily associate with gift registries.  This one has more far-reaching benefaction, beyond the confines of a group of family and friends.  It requires no expenditure on the part of the giver.  It has nothing to do with products.  Rather, it pertains to utility and repurposing of an incalculable treasure, the human body.   

Think of the gamut of people whose work requires knowledge of at least some aspect of anatomy and physiology.  A tissue bank such as this one provides physicians, nurses, EMTs, forensic pathologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, students, and related practitioners with hands-on opportunities to learn and practice.  Whether they acquire new skills or new insights, clinicians, researchers, educators, and others in bodily oriented fields are able to reap advancement and enlightenment from donated physical material.  Development of surgical instrumentation and finessing of new techniques, research and treatment of injuries and pathological conditions, and exploration of diseased or normal organs and tissues are among the processes that can be implemented through this resource. 

Tissues surgically retrieved from donated bodies are made available according to stringent regulations for distribution nationally and worldwide.  Or they may be employed on site in the training laboratory that practitioners, educators, or organizations can rent. 

If you were to take a closer look through the front door, you would see a 650-square-foot conference/classroom suite with a series of tables on both sides of the room and two chairs at each.  Large screens for viewing of training videos or surgical proceedings taking place in the adjacent lab are situated on the wall behind the front desk.  Videoconferencing allows for inclusion of widespread audiences in remote locations.  When a lab is underway, you’d probably see surgically garbed participants.  Beyond this room is the modern 4000- square-foot surgical skills training center, an operating room type of milieu with state-of-the-art instruments and cameras.   

Individuals in many states around the country can choose to donate their bodies to this non-profit corporation that is the largest whole-body donation registry.  It is conveniently located close to three international airports.  Advance registration enables a swift and smooth transition once death has occurred.  Instead of contacting a funeral home, a family member connects by phone with an AGR representative who sets the wheels in motion and arranges for transport of the body to their facility.  Additionally, the death will be registered in the appropriate state’s department of records.  
AGR utilizes its own two-unit crematory, located next door to its lab.  Cremated remains are returned to the family within four to six weeks and consist of portions of the body not used for study or practice purposes.  Folks may choose to conduct a memorial service once the remains have been received.  

At some point during the ensuing months, a donor’s family is sent a letter that identifies the particular medical and research applications that were employed. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Fly'Bye Lady Visit In VIRGINIA


Certainly, this region’s name is instantly apt to bring to mind its preeminent historical burial grounds, Arlington National Cemetery.  Here’s a place that may seem familiar to you even if you’ve never been there.  Media coverage of dignitaries’ funeral events keeps it in the forefront of our awareness. 

The mansion (now called the Arlington House) that had been the central structure on General Robert E. Lee’s confiscated estate, situated upon a hill behind the entrance, foretells the origination of this territory for burial of military personnel, beginning in 1864. 

This tourist attraction serves as a testament to the fact that cemeteries can be lively destinations.  Buses from different parts of the country are lined up in the parking lot and energetic school students exude vigor as they explore the territory.  A visitor might want to prepare for a stroll through this sweeping landscape as if training for a marathon… or decide to traverse the grounds via an open-air tram or a bus-like “super-tram,” both of which have the added benefit of a tour guide.

Upon circulating through the grounds, one sees not only the symmetrical spreads of stone tablets that are common throughout national cemeteries around the country, but also traditional headstones situated in older sections.  Sometimes statues dot the scenario as well.

A simple cross and flat marker identify the grave of Robert F. Kennedy, purportedly at his request.  It is in the vicinity of President John F. Kennedy’s memorial, the Eternal Flame, which was constructed over his grave.  He and President William Howard Taft are the only U.S. presidents buried in the cemetery.  Others have chosen interment in their native states.

In contrast to Robert Kennedy’s inconspicuous marker, there is the venerable Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (aka The Tomb of Unknowns) that commands widespread attention and is perpetually guarded.  A ceremonial changing of the guard occurs every half hour during the summer and every hour during winter months. The prospects for additional unknown soldiers may no longer exist, since DNA technology has advanced to the point where remains can be positively identified.

This military maneuver that bespeaks solemnity and dignity is marked by the exchange of a rifle that has been meticulously inspected to the nth degree of precision. 

Behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the outdoor Memorial Amphitheater, where various memorial events take place.  Every year an Easter sunrise service begins at 6a.m. and Memorial Day and Veterans Day services always begin at 11a.m.  Memorial services are also conducted here by military organizations, as are funerals for famous Americans. Historical earmarks festoon an exhibit hall inside.  A nonsectarian chapel is on the premises as well.  In 1868 the first national Memorial Day commemoration was hosted in the cemetery’s original amphitheater, inaugurated in 1874, that this larger amphitheater has replaced. 

Now, as Memorial Day weekend approaches and arrives, the cemetery will take on added significance.  Military personnel, including members of the ceremonial Old Guard unit – the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment – will infiltrate these burial grounds to methodically position small American flags at every gravesite, in front of all memorial stones.  A similar gesture of tribute occurs annually when Christmas wreaths are placed at gravesites, with a wreath-laying ceremony at noon on December 15th.  Arlington Cemetery is one of hundreds of locations in the country where wreaths are delivered through a non-profit initiative, Wreaths Across America.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

University of Richmond COLUMBARIUM

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Commencements at collegiate institutions generally direct graduates to focus on their futures.  Though this may not come to mind as mortarboards are tossed in the air at the University of Richmond, alumni there can contemplate a long-term opportunity for a permanent return to campus once their futures have been realized.  A sizable Columbarium and Memorial Garden on the east grounds of Cannon Chapel makes this possible.  It is managed through the Office of the Chaplaincy.  

3000 niches that can accommodate one or two urns are available for use by alumni, faculty, staff, and families at a cost of $3000. each.  Names with birth and death dates can be engraved on their granite frontal facades. 

Alternatively, for $350. one can have cremated remains placed directly in the ground within the scattering garden that encircles a water feature.  Names and dates are noted collectively on individual brass plates attached to the top of a single memorial stone embedded in the hedge.

This secluded area nestled among wooded trees offers a quiet site for contemplation and repose amidst the activity of a lovely 350-acre campus.