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Friends and family come together to communicate about the deceased. The method of this ritual will vary from religion to geographic culture in Western civilization, and could be viewed by the "other" as being just as exotic as a death ritual deep in the jungles of Africa, in Israel, in Ireland, or in Russia.

Strangers connect by their mutual connection to the dead. The one I am about to describe is American, in southern California, and can be labeled performance-based ethnography (DENZIN, 2003) and autoethnography (REED-DANAHAY, 1997; ELLIS, 2004).

: This paper is a meditation on contemporary rituals in the United States associated with death—in this case, the memorial. MAINES' advocacy of using narrative to address a social (and anthropological) event.

"Autoethnography is an autobiographical genre of writing and research that displays multiple levels of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural" (BOCHNER & ELLIS, 2003, p.209). Went over there for a bar-be-que and there she was. If this were Canada," Giggles said, "she'd still be alive, you think? "You guys were close," Giggles said, "for a while." "Two years ago," I said. She had a long-term ex-boyfriend who was constantly in and out of prison and living on the street, selling and using speed.

It consists a set of interpretative, material practices that make the world visible. They turn the world into a series of representations, including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings, and memos to the self." [] "The memo to the self" is how I would categorize this autoethnographic account.

I wrote it to not only better understand the practice, and meaning, of the Western memorial, but to remember the emotions I experienced during and after, afraid that one day I would not recall the feelings accurately.

Adequate ethnographic practice in the confessional requires fieldworkers to tidy up their roles and tell how they think they were received and viewed by others in the field." [, because his/her lived experience is a never-ending research project that examines every day social structures, the intersection of (auto)biography and history (MILLS, 1959) and cultural changes that are moving in the sphere of the self (CARY, 1999) Therefore, this auto/ethnographic account is confessional (VAN MAANEN, 1988), sociological introspection (ELLIS, 1991), and an observation of a small group of people, a tribe if you will, in southern California, engaged in the ritualistic act of remembering the good things about the dead.

I am a member of that tribe and try to "understand the complexities of the social world in which we live and how we go about thinking, acting, and making meaning in our lives" (ELLIS, 2004, p.25).

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