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This autoethnography follows the author on a winter journey that culminates at a cemetery where his mother is buried. Along the way, his final negotiations with his family over the impending loss are complicated by years of estrangement since his coming out as a gay male. As he is welcomed "home" by his sister, his recent experience as an ethnographer of pilgrimage prepares him for the possibility that shared suffering through ritual participation can generate healing. Sensitized to the power of ritual gestures in moments of transition, he reaches out to his mother. Later, as he and his sister select a grave marker, they choose a stone bench that provides figurative and literal rest.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Speech Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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