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Neither-Nor: A Young Australian’s Experience with Deafness
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Mum was cremated at the Springvale Crematorium in northeastern Melbourne three days after her death. She was given a Humanist funeral by her own request. As a child, she was baptized and attended church regularly but later rejected the superstitions, myths, and rituals of Christianity in adulthood. My Anglican grandparents never had this intellectual or spiritual awakening in the course of their long lives. They simply believed what they were told when young.

The funeral took place in a bland room: no elaborate architectural designs suggestive of the church’s material wealth or the illusion of heaven, no priest dressed in purple and white, no justification of human tragedy by reciting biblical passages, and no cross, which has become the eternal symbol of the man Jesus Christ of Nazareth. It was just a room with people seated in pews and a rostrum beside a coffin wherein my dead mother lay.

I don’t know how my grandparents reacted to being in such a godless place. Maybe they were too shocked to resist, but I do know they were distraught that their daughter was to be cremated and not buried in Warrnambool. They begrudged Dad for it later, but said and did nothing at that time. But who could believe in an interventionist God after what had happened a few days previously? It was an evil, plot-less twist of fate. She had wanted a baby, had tried for four years to have me. And she paid the ultimate price. If not for me, she could still be alive today.

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