American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning by Kate Sweeney
English | Mar. 15, 2014 | ISBN: 0820346004 | 232 Pages | PDF | 2 MB

One family inters their matriarchs ashes on the floor of the ocean. Another holds a memorial weenie roast each year at a greenburial cemetery. An 1898 ad for embalming fluid promises, "You can make mummies with it!" while a leading contemporary burial vault is touted as impervious to the elements. A grieving mother, 150 years ago, might spend her days tending a garden at her daughters grave. Today, she might tend the roadside memorial she erected at the spot her daughter was killed. One mother wears a locket containing her daughters hair; the other, a necklace containing her ashes.

What happens after someone dies depends on our personal stories and on where those stories fall in a larger tale-that of death in America. Its a powerful tale that we usually keep hidden from our everyday lives until we have to face it.

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