At the local coffee shop, if the paper is available, I always read the obituaries.
I study each one carefully, checking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and content.
This makes some of those around me nervous. Like they think I am looking for them.
I am not.
Nor am I looking for me.
A well-written obituary gives the reader a glimpse into the life of stranger. It gives the newly deceased a bit of honour when they most deserve it and when they can least defend themselves.
It seems to me obituaries have changed a lot over the years. People were less materialistic. Their obituaries reflected that. They usually just mentioned the deceased and immediate family. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing wasted. A good life. A good death. A proper send-off.
Fast forward to our fast-moving, materialistic, ego-driven way of life where it’s more fashionable to keep up with the Joneses than help them raise a new barn.
We’ve complicated death. Made it more competitive. Less compassionate. The longer the obituary, the more important the life, so we think.
I always wanted to write obituaries. I would be honest, well-versed and the grammar and spelling would be awesome. However, I might not mention the raging alcoholic, the womanizer, the one who had it coming, or the crack-head and I’m pretty sure I’d leave out the fact they were hated by everyone, or wanted to die under the wheels of a beer truck.
I’ve never really considered my obituary. I guess it would be better if I wrote it. How can anyone know for sure what they are reading is based on opinion more than the truth.
I think mine should read: The rumours of this death are no longer exaggerated. Loved by The Cat, (we think).
Period. Keep it simple.
It’s less time-consuming for readers.
And I still have so many to get through before the coffee shop closes in a couple of hours…