Over My Dead Body

My new, life-absorbing quest to plan a funeral fit for a king

Photo-Illustration by Tomasz Walenta for TIME; Kyodo News/AFP/Getty Images

My grandmother Mama Ann died the same week as Kim Jong Il. By comparison, her funeral sucked. Only her two sons and two of her grandkids came. No one cried. The service was three minutes long. When you fade away over years, die at 90 and don't starve an entire nation, your impact wanes into nothingness.

Which seems wrong because not only did Mama Ann not run any forced-labor camps, she started a business that lifted her family from poverty to wealth, even though she spent little of it on herself. She was optimistic despite moving in with relatives at 13...

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