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The family of Althlee Williams, including Vivian Ransburg, from left, Teresa Scurlock, Clayton Williams, Betty Williams, Kelly Smith (sitting), Glanda Smith, Harrison Smith II, and Frederick Scurlock, gathers at her grave on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in south St. Louis County. Althlee Williams, 89, had fallen into a coma. Her eyes were shut. She couldn’t speak. A machine pumped her lungs. It was time, the doctor told them. They should let their mother die.

Erik M. Lunsford / St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT)