Courtesy of myAJC.com | By Maureen Downey | Originally Published 05.02.2018 | Posted 06.07.2018
Growing up in Boston, Sam Gardner went to the Roxbury Latin School, where he internalized its philosophy “from whom much has been given, much is expected.”
Now he is studying political science, economics, and classics at Oxford College of Emory University.
In this remarkable piece, Gardner talks about his volunteer role as a mourner at burials for Atlanta’s poor who have no family or friends to arrange a service or bid them farewell.
You can read more about the minister who conducts these funerals in this 2016 AJC story.
By Sam Gardner
One hour ago, I walked to breakfast on an elegant brick pathway. The grand glass doors, framed in a dark walnut and emblazoned with the Emory logo, welcomed me to the dining room. The pungent smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap off the immaculate tables was certainly inviting – Emory does not use generic industrial cleaners: too many chemicals. The kitchen staff served organic acorn squash, kale, and heirloom tomatoes from the local farm. Even the hamburgers were freshly cooked and never frozen.
As I strolled in, I saw all my friends. Some sat beside the fireplace talking; some stood in line waiting to be served; and some waved, smiling and asking how my day was. None of us thought we were particularly fortunate to have this treatment. We often complained. This orzo is disgusting. The lines are too long. These eggs are so bland. But I had to eat quickly; I needed to make it to a funeral later this morning.
The funeral wasn’t for someone I knew. In fact, the funeral was for someone nobody knew. He or she died alone and indigent, the body sent to the Atlanta coroner for a public health burial. I finished the last of my egg on toast and shelved the empty plate onto the moving conveyer belt where it would be cleaned out of sight. Continue reading “Emory student helps bury the dead no one else mourns”