Good Grief

WHEN A MOTHER DIES, HER BODY STILL MATTERS

We did not wake our mother when she died.

The night her soul parted from her body, in a Florida hospice room, my sisters and I left her for the staff—experts at handling the dead—to take care of. “Where will she go?” I asked the kind nurse, who had hugged me and my sisters long and hard after she verified the absence of our mother’s heartbeat.

“To the morgue,” she replied—reluctantly, I thought. “In the basement.” My mother, who had moved to Florida thirty years earlier to...

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About the Author

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell is associate director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University. Her most recent book of poems, Moving House, was published in 2009 by Word Press. Her mother was buried in May.