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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sue heard the banshees.....

When I was growing up, death was closer to people than it is now. People died earlier. People died at home. Wakes were held in the family living room.

My Irish grandfather died at home. It did not seem unusual to have him lying in a casket in our living room where the Christmas tree usually stood. In fact, we'd visit dead people in other families' living rooms fairly often. When the witch-like Slovak bubba next door died -- the old woman who never returned our toys when they landed in her yard -- my older sister told me to poke her waxed hands to make sure she was really dead. I did and she was.

We Irish knew how to hold wakes. They lasted three full days, followed by a week of official mourning. The house would fill with food from neighbors and friends and with so many floral arrangements they would creep up the stairs to the second floor.

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