in coming to terms with the newly dead, I seem to have agitated the spirits of the long dead. They were stirring uneasily in their graves, demanding to be mourned as I had not mourned them when they were buried. I was plunged into retroactive grief for my father, and could no longer deny, though I still tried, the loss I'd suffered at the death of my mother. ... Was it possible ... that one could mourn over losses that had occurred more than half a century earlier?
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The United States, which has been called the home of the persecuted and the dispossessed, has been since its founding an asylum for emotional orphans. For over three hundred years, refugees from political oppression, religious persecution, famine, poverty, and a rigid class system which limited educational and economic opportunities have been leaving their native villages and cities and coming to the United States in search of freedom and a better life.
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