Chapter

Introduction

Denise Carson

in Parting Ways

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520251083
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949416 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520251083.003.0001
Introduction

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This chapter provides an introduction to the book, which explores individuals reinventing the role of family and community in death care to wrest control back from the white coats in hospitals and the black suits in funeral homes at the turn of the twenty-first century. It presents stories about everyday people to portray the lived reality of a larger cultural trend happening in society. It guides the reader through the personal life of the author where the author's memories with parents, who died of cancer, are presented. Since we often encounter discomfort in talking about death, it aggregates a collection of family stories at the period of confronting death and funerals to add to the collective wisdom. Furthermore, it provides a complete picture of the traditional post-death rituals of America. Those rituals close the gap between the social and biological death by transforming the once-sequestered stage of life into a social, spiritual, and self-growth journey.

Keywords: death; family; community; funeral; traditional ritual

Chapter.  2470 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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