People enjoy stories. The stories themselves don’t have to necessarily be very interesting, or thought-provoking, but there is a certain aesthetic pleasure that is associated with the conclusiveness of a story. Beginning, middle, and end: this commanding structure allows for people to have a sense of closure, a resolution to an issue or event. This is no different when considering relationships between people and their ancestry. Not only is it intriguing, but there is an importance in understanding the lives of the people who came before you. It is quite truly a story, a story that hopefully is easily traceable and offers a conclusion, regardless of what that conclusion is.
In Nina Golgowski’s Huffington Post article, she explains that as many as 7000 bodies had been found underneath the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The medical center was built on the land that was once property of the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum. This asylum hosted 80 years worth of patients, many of which died during their stay, resulted in some being buried in the asylum’s cemetery. This ultimately lead to a substantial amount of uncertainty surrounding what had happened to their ancestors. This provoked many people to ask about asylum records, and the discovery of this burial ground is extremely helpful in garnering more information about their family. This should be a relief for all those who struggled with the lack of knowledge about their family history.
Although quite expensive at $21 million, exhuming and testing these newfound bodies is deemed a necessity considering the amount of ancestors that were never granted the proper closure that they deserve. Why is closure important? At its core, people like knowing things. An undeniably simple statement, but true nonetheless. For some, the uncertainty of what occured to a person of relation is more difficult to deal with than the occurrence itself. In “Zone One” when Mim had gone missing, the group dealt with the added stress of wondering what could have happened to her. Although knowing and witnessing if something had happened to her would’ve been difficult, even that pales in comparison to the hopefulness one has to maintain.
I agree with the fact that cost is not a factor when dealing with these bodies. These bodies are not just bodies, they are people, with ancestors that care about who they were. To do anything else other than treat them with care would be disrespectful to not only the bodies themselves but also their families. Their story remains unfinished, and held within a burial site. To knowingly ignore the closure that could be attained would be akin to ripping out the last chapter of a novel.