Obituaries

17 10 2007

Every day I browse the obituary page. It is not to see if anyone I know has died, but to view how contemporary society measures a life. We list the dates of birth, death and marriage, those who proceeded us in death, survivors, career, clubs and religious affiliations. Isn’t there so much more to be said about a life? What does the obituary really tell about a person?

What was the good? Was he a man who got his joy out of painting his chest with the University’s colors at all of the home games? Was she a woman who took her children to see the world and taught them that one person could make a difference? Did people gather at her table for wonderful cuisine every weekend? Was he an avid traveler, a birdwatcher? Was she painfully shy? Did he love a woman from afar because he could never get up the nerve to talk to her? Did she scale a mountain, skydive, learn to fly a plane?

What were the not so shining moments that made up the life? Did he really learn a lesson from that DUI -conquering his alcoholism to become an inspirational AA leader? Did she pull of a heist? Did he have a drunken one night stand that haunted him for the rest of his life? Did she say horrible things to the person who got the part she coveted in the school play?

There is good and bad in all of us and that is what makes us who we are. How was the time that made up each life spent? Its more than the milestones that are published. Everyone has a story and the modern-day obituary doesn’t even begin to tell it.

Perhaps there would be a use for a eulogy forum of sorts. Friends and family could tell what difference the deceased made in their lives. What mark did he or she leave on the world?

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