Occasional Oldies

Revisiting my writings of the past can be quite entertaining, at least for me, though maybe not for anyone else.  So from time to time I’ll be re-posting a post that I posted before.  You might want to stop right here if you were my reader back in another day on another site.  I’ll always warn you when I present an oldie!

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THINKING ABOUT OBITUARIES

A simple pleasure in my life is the leisurely reading of the morning paper over my toast-and-banana breakfast.  I do not skip past the obituaries, but rather take my time looking them over.  I am drawn first to the pictures, scanning for children, teens, and young adults.  Sometimes I am snookered by the picture of a young person who turns out to have been born in, like, 1912–please!

I’m needing to know their stories.  Why have they left us so soon?  Was it a tragic accident?  Did they die suddenly from disease, or did they fight a “long and courageous battle?”  Were they the victim of a heinous crime?  I am a tiny bit ticked if I read all the way through and never learn what happened to them, but I suppose it’s okay to opt for privacy.

You would expect I’d be looking for the old folks, thinking I might find someone I know, but this is not the case.  If someone close to me has died, I would hope that I will not have to rely on the paper to get the news.

I always wonder which family member drew the short straw and had to actually write the obituary.  Or is it an honor that loved ones scramble for?  When I die, do I want the fact to appear in the paper?  Who would write my obituary?  Would it be my youngest son, the writer?  Or would it be The Husband Who Adores Me (THWAM)?  In that case it would be blessedly short, as he has little enough to say in the best of circumstances.  Should I write it myself, now, to insure that it says just what I want it to say?  What DO I want it to say?  Hmmm.

THWAM and I have insured that no one will have to plan a funeral service, although we do encourage a party.  One simple phone call was made and presto, we have donated our bodies to medical science.  I carry a card—along with credit cards, AARP, gas, etc.—with the number to call if you should come upon me dead.  These people do have rules, so I will do my best to die in good enough shape to be useful.  Seriously, this was an easy and practical decision for us in view of our faith in an afterlife, and even the possibility of returning.  We don’t see the point of having the body we are finished with taking up valuable space on the planet.  This is our personal feeling, and we have absolute respect for those who feel differently.

My own parents refused to speak with me at all about death, dying, or what they wanted or how they felt about it.  I think that was terribly unfair to me, their only child.  Of course they went  ahead and died anyway, and I think I could have been a better daughter if I had had the information.  We’ve tried to do better by our adult kids, though it’s hard to say if they can really appreciate it until the time comes.

We called a family meeting, saying we had something serious to discuss.  And we laid it all out, from the body donations to the will, living will, DNR order, right down to don’t feel badly if you need to put us into the care of others.  And we handed out packets of papers that spelled it all out.  We did a good job.  But it was a quiet meeting, with the kids seeming a little stunned and not in the mood for discussion.  We can only hope they were listening.

So that’s me, just thinking about obituaries and stuff, in the morning.

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Dying is the most embarrassing thing that can ever happen to you, because someone’s got to take care of all your details.         Andy Warhol

It’s not that I’m afraid to die, it’s just that I don’t want to be there when it happens.           Woody Allen

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 12:05 pm and is filed under Things to Think About. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Occasional Oldies”

  1. I, Rodius on September 25th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I’ll write it. You don’t get pre-approval, though. And we’ll definitely throw a party. Thumper digs a party. Will you make an appearance?

  2. Purelight on September 25th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Of course I’ll be there listening in to every conversation, so be careful. And please serve bountiful amounts of chocolate!