When my mother, Patricia McGowan, died in late June, we chose the cheapest coffin for her burial. The funeral director brought the glossy album of possibilities for us to leaf through and without even glancing at it, I told him, “Mom would want the plainest, simplest, most expensive one you’ve got.” There was a small silence. “I meant the least expensive,” I said quickly. “We’ll take the cheapest.”
We wanted Mom to have the best,...
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