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Comments for Life without mom

Caption: Antonio Gonzalez and his mom, Judy Ojeda, at a friend's wedding in 2009., Credit: Courtesy of Antonio Gonzalez.

This piece belongs to the series "MPR News' Youth Series"

Produced by Sasha Aslanian

Other pieces by MPR News Stations

Summary: Death makes the news. Grief doesn't. When Judy Ojeda, a public health worker, died last October, she left behind a husband and six kids. Her oldest son, 16-year-old Antonio Gonzalez, reports on how his family is doing seven months after the sudden and mysterious death of his mother.

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"Life Without Mom" Review

Death is a difficult topic to cover, because stories can become scattered and overly emotional to the point where listeners are either uncomfortable or lost within unexplained references. However, Antonio’s piece was brilliantly constructed. The use of background noises and audio clips added so much to the piece. The house noises at the beginning immediately transported listeners into the story, into the family kitchen. Antonio’s narration throughout is clear and focused. He leads listeners throughout his experiences, using outside audio to enhance the story. Antonio could have easily created a piece of solid narration, but new sounds—like the news report or the rap music or the audio diary—keep the listener engaged. Some of the question and answer clips should be trimmed, just to make the piece a little cleaner. Comments like “is there a pause button on here?” are probably unnecessary! Antonio talks a lot about his music, but never strays too far from the topic of his mother. His explanations of how she influenced him through her life and death are interesting and beautifully narrated. Great piece!