Dispatches

Rec Room Afterlife

Mary Vallis

Not long ago on a sticky Saturday night at a comedy club in Madison, Wisconsin, the funeral director with whom I was having a drink told me how long it takes for the formaldehyde to replace the blood in a dead person’s arteries. He drank a light beer; the walls in the comedy club were bare brick and the stools were too high for my feet to touch the floor. The funeral director saw the challenge of his work in bringing back the essence of the dead person in the face by massaging the skin. He said the important moment comes when the dead person’s family looks into the casket and recognizes the person lying there, or not.

A friend and I had driven to Wisconsin in order to meet the funeral director’s predecessor, a man named Sam San

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Mary Vallis

Mary Vallis is a reporter at the National Post. Read her blog on teaching in Rwanda at rwandainitiative.ca.


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