Our fiscal year ends tomorrow. Can you chip in $50, $25 or even $10 to help us reach our goal?
Before you dive into this episode, you’ll probably want to listen to last week’s show. In “Finding Michael, part one,” we introduce you to Stephanie Stone. For years, she’s been on a quest to find her late brother Michael’s gravesite. And when we told her we wanted to help, she wasn’t holding her breath for answers.
“I mean, I truly have zero expectations,” Stone said. “I don’t expect some, you know, gigantic miracle with a huge file.”
Michael died in Austin, Texas, in 2009. At the time, his family didn’t claim his body because they couldn’t afford to pay for his burial. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of bodies go unclaimed in the United States each year due to financial reasons — just like Michael’s did. When that happens, the responsibility falls to local governments. Researchers say because there’s no standard system for caring for the unclaimed, it’s basically a patchwork that at times can feel almost secretive.
“The unclaimed tend to be hidden, a kind of secret dead of society,” said Pamela Prickett, a sociologist who studies the issue.
On this week’s episode, we navigate this complex patchwork and travel to Austin to pick up the search for Michael’s final resting place. Plus, we meet people from all over the country as we discover how unclaimed deaths are handled across the U.S., and why researchers believe this is a looming problem with big financial implications.
If you like this episode, share it with a friend. And to get even more Uncomfortable, subscribe to our newsletter. Each Friday you’ll get a note from Reema and some recommendations from the Uncomfortable team. If you missed it, here’s the latest issue.
If you want to tell us your story, what you thought about the episode or anything else, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below.
“This Is Uncomfortable” is Reema Khrais, Donna Tam, Hayley Hershman, Camila Kerwin, Phoebe Unterman, Marielle Segarra and Marque Greene.
The future of this podcast starts with you.
We know that as a fan of “This Is Uncomfortable,” you’re no stranger to money and how life messes with it — and 2022 isn’t any different.
As part of a nonprofit news organization, we count on listeners like you to make sure that these and other important conversations are heard.