One of the first things I do each morning is read the obituaries. Even before I glance at the day’s top stories, I hit the obits. I’m not exactly sure why or how this morning ritual came to being, but it did. In some weird way, reading the life’s accomplishments of the deceased crammed into three paragraphs provides some type of comic relief.
“David journeyed to be with the Lord…”
What does that mean? Did he buy a one-way ticket for this journey? I hope I mistakenly don’t sign up for this trip.
“Barbara passed away…”
This one always gets me. Is it like passing gas, or passing a slow driver on the interstate? How does one “pass?”
“Michael died unexpectedly…”
For the most part, I think all death is unexpected. We don’t have a timer on us that counts down the remaining few seconds of our lives so we sit on the couch in anticipation of the buzzer going off.
“Harry died suddenly…”
Yep, death is pretty sudden. And final.
“Helen slipped into the arms of God…”
I guess we can be thankful that God was there to catch her or who knows where she may have ended up.
“Thomas joined his friends and family in heaven…”
The writer is going out on a limb with the assumption that Thomas really made it to heaven. Of course that is irrelevant if there really isn’t such a place, and who knows about the friends and family – they could be suffering it out down under.
Then there’s the people who get it right.
Perfect. To the point. Jack is dead.
The entertaining part of the obituary begins when we hear about every social club the deceased belonged to, how he/she loved to cook sausages, play canasta, spend time with the grandkids and how he/she worked one job for 50 years. Unfortunately we never hear the juicy stuff. That never seems to make it to print.
I remember when my mother died about 15 years ago. With a bottle of wine on the bar, we all gathered to come up with what we were going to put in the obit. Unfortunately, nobody had a sense of humor at the time and would go along with any of my suggestions, so mother Dorothy got sent off with the boiler-plate version.
Not wanting to have anyone in charge of writing my obituary, a few years ago I wrote my own and included it as an addendum to my will. I keep it current with frequent updates such as, “by age 40 Scott discovered that his frequent bouts of diarrhea were caused by the caper berry found in many dishes he loved to eat such as veal picatta.”
Every now and then I’ll come across an obituary that breaks from the norm and stands out as a real gem. It’s like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Perhaps that’s the reason why I read these nuggets of life every morning.
Or, I could just be a little weird.