Sunday, March 17, 2013

About obituaries and attending funerals

Just finished reading a fun obituary. You know me - always looking for and seeking out the unusual and this certaily falls into that category.

For most people, an obituary is straight-forward information piece detailing the date of the deceased's passing, names of family members and the date and place of the funeral. However, the family of Harry Weathersby Stamps, noted his death and contribution to the planet with a warm and humorous tongue-in-cheek notice that has gone viral on the Internet.

Eulogized by his daughter, Amanda Lewis, he is described in the opening paragraph as, "ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013." It is obvious in the way that the obit is written that Ms Lewis wanted to share her father's life in a meaningful yet light manner with people who knew Harry and the family.

This got me thinking about obituaries in general and how we will be remembered by family, friends and acquaintances. As a writer, my life and contribution in general to the literary world could be summed up in three sentences, "She lived. She wrote. She croaked."

Have to confess that in addition to reading the news, the obituary page comes a close second. Attending a funeral is a mark of respect for the deceased and their families, especially if you would want them to reciprocate when the time comes, if you get my drift. Not that I specifically seek out a reason to be present at funerals but there are people who are "funeral groupies." Frequently, they don't know the deceased but show up anyway, in case there are people they may know and chat with. In conversation with one of their kind, frequently questions arise as to the cause of death to which my pat answer is, "their heart stopped beating." This is usually enough to quell any further conversation.

It's also not uncommon, unfortunately, to hear the ringing of a cell phone in the middle of everything. I mean, give me a break! If courtesy can't be extended to turning of a cell phone during a funeral ceremony...but I digress.

Ben Franklin sums it up perfectly. "I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up." I hear 'ya, Ben!

Meanwhile, it's worth reading Harry's obituary.

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