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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

‘My mother was buried alone, sur­rounded by strangers, the way she wished, in a New York mau­soleum aus­pi­ciously bear­ing the name of her col­lege dorm, Fern­cliff. She had changed her burial plans se­cretly, with the help of my youngest brother. A decade ear­lier, my par­ents had bought side-by­side plots. My fa­ther had thought the mat­ter was all set­tled. When she in­quired into the mau­soleum, price was not an is­sue, nor the neigh­bour­hood — the race and re­li­gion of the oc­cu­pants of the sur­round­ing tombs. My mother was con­cerned with only one thing: she wanted a sin­gle spot for her cof­fin, a space where all the sur­round­ing plots had been taken. She wanted a spot where she would be en­cir­cled by strangers, where my fa­ther could not be buried be­side her.’

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