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How a Common Death Ritual Made It Harder to Mourn the Loss of My Mother

On-line article from Time



My mother died of breast cancer.

After two years of illness and major surgery, she had become gaunt. Her hair was almost gone. Her skin was yellowed. Her limbs were swollen. The day after she died, I took my father to the funeral home, where he bought the most expensive coffin available. The mortician assured him it was waterproof.

Two days later, after my mother had been embalmed, we returned. I started to walk into the Slumber Room. I could see my mother in the coffin across the room, and for one very long and strange moment, I thought she was alive again. She looked better than she had for years. Her skin was pink and smooth; her hair, nicely groomed. Even her fingernails were done, and she had a very small smile on her face.

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2020