The Obituary of Your Life
It faces all of us. It can happen in a flash, a second, or it can be years away from your age. Death. The demise of your existence in a physical form. Scary, unpleasant, and most place it in a box far from reality and seal it with, "It won't happen to me" or "I am way too young". Yet, one mistake, being a bystander, or a host of other reasons - it does.
I was reading the obituaries. The assortment was incredible. People ages from 20 to 80, photos of them and what they did in their time of life. The elder deaths show their past and present photos and it is shocking at times at what time does to the human face. No wonder so many older people attempt to stay youthful looking. There was one woman who in her prime, in the 40's-50's, was simply stunning, yet, when she died, you would never had guessed this had you encountered her today.Sad. The same applies to men, of course.
Obituary reading is interesting. The lives of each one is condensed into concise bits of writing because of the cost. It reads like a life resume embellished with warm thoughts regarding traits and memories. For some lives, the obituary is fairly short. Does this mean their life was rather meaningless, that nothing notable was accomplished? Is something suppose to be accomplished? Or, is this just something one expects? Is being a doctor, attorney, a former senator any more important than one who just got a degree in something, got married, had kids and grand kids?
Sometimes, the obituary cites various accomplishments that really have no meaning to anyone but their own relatives. Sometimes, death seems to be rather busy taking life away judging from the number.
When my mother died, I had to write her obituary. Well, I didn't have to, but it seemed like it was expected. Why? The thousands of readers who might had read it could care less. They did not know her and the relatives were the only ones who did care and they knew all about her life. Whatever. So, writing the obituary is very much like a job resume - the high points, successes, family, how great they were. Since everyone is not perfect, obituaries never state failures or bad traits\memories. Why? It is all part of life.
It is actually harder than a job resume because often, even their kids or relatives do not all the details. After I had assembled the data of my mom and racked my memory about her life before she was a "mom", I realized, I only knew details about it that she had disclosed. Little tidbits. I hardly knew anything about her parents.
Long before she died, I would always ask her to record her life story on a cassette to preserve it. She never did. She thought it was a "stupid" idea and silly. Was it because to her, it was too personal and nothing was special about it and embarrassing? The same request of my dad fell to deaf ears for the same reasons. Now, I have nothing. I can write about them and it would not take more than a half page.
Somehow, I was able to create an obituary tribute to her. Yes, I embellished some things to make it seem more glamorous and important. To make sure a stranger who might read it might think, "Wow, she accomplished some cool things". Why? Who cares? Why do I care what a stranger might think?
I don't know. But, all the other obituaries read the same way. I guess it just makes an interesting read, knowing a life did accomplish something, however, small it might actually be. Then, I thought about my own. Scary. I wrote one that I was not pleased with.
I guess it is only natural for a human being to make their life be worthy, some important accomplishment. The whole thing remains disturbing.
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