I echo the sentiments of those who've posted here, and I add that with the server problems, we lost, from your original postings on this topic, a description and image which I found and still find so haunting. I hope you'll find a way to write it up again, here, for those who may have missed it. It was your description of the face you knew to be your mother's, in the past, vs. the face you saw after she died.
I can't seem to find a copy of it. Nor can I rewrite it. Here's the main idea:
The undertaker had nothing to go by for preparing her face for viewing because my people do not believe in taking photographs. All he had to go by was her natural facial structure. He came up with an expression of peace and relaxation I had never seen in her while she was alive. I believe this may have been the mother I loved but never saw in life because, like many of us, she was scared to just let go and be her natural self. I think this makes sense for a religion that teaches self is evil.
There's something I'd like to add. Very many people commented on how peaceful she looked in the coffin. What they don't realize is that she did not die this way. I did not see her at the very end. I did see her about eight hours earlier. I understand the situation did not change significantly. She breathed with her mouth gaping because of serious internal problems. She looked anything but peaceful. The only way I can describe it is the desperation of a body trying to breath when most of the vital functions are no longer functioning. Many of you may have seen it in a person close to you. If it were any other creature than a human, we would put it out of its misery no questions asked.
Against that backdrop, the face I saw in the coffin was a miracle. I maintain that I did not see such a peace on her face at any time when she was alive. Yet it looked so much like her that I found myself expecting a twitch of the lip or movement of the brow. At the funeral I kept having to take another look just to be sure this wasn't happening.