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Washer Women

Keep it Real Wednesday

September 11, 2019

Washer woman

In typical Rosemary fashion, she has begun planning her own exit from this earth.  She is starting to choose music for a service, food to be served and people she hopes to be there for her family.  

One day, she was busy letting me know her wishes when all of a sudden she said “Did you know your Grandmother (her mother) was a “washer woman”?  A “washer woman” I asked?  “What is that?”.   

She then went on to explain that when she was a kid and someone died, there were designated “washer women” in the neighborhood who could come right over to the deceased persons home and wash the body of the person who had died and prepare it for the funeral home.  She said it was a sign of respect for the living (family) and sign of respect for the dead.  They would take great care to clean the body while also consoling the family of the loved one. 

Today, our condolences begin and end with a baked good or a casserole. Could you imagine if we still utilized washer women in 2019? A team of strong women, all showing up like a well-oiled machine tending to the deceased in a loving and dignified way.

I think we could learn a thing or two from these washer women.

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