Animal Studies Journal


The loss of a loved one often forces the bereaved to question their philosophical frameworks, their ontology and epistemology foundations, and their own mortality. Following the recent and sudden death of Sandra Burr, my dear friend and valued colleague, I have been going through this same sad process. But the hard work of mourning is to some extent eased by time spent thinking about and reading through millennia of writings on being, death and grieving. The many thoughtful works by many fine writers provide vivid reminders that no matter who we might be, or in what context we live, the fundamental questions and concerns remain: what does it mean to be a human being? How do I deal with loss? How do I face my own end? Consistently, over the span of human community, it seems that creative expression, reflective thought, and the willingness to be open to tenderness as well as to loss and distress, are understood as being of value. In this small eulogy cum essay, I draw on the writings of poets, philosophers, playwrights and scholars in an effort to understand, a little more clearly, how to live.