Subourbon Mom

He Died of What??
August 12, 2014, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor, Posts | Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of my favorite things to do is read the obituaries. Not because I morbidly enjoy hearing that people have died, but because trying to get a sense of who someone was in 100 words or less is a fascinating exercise.  Most of the time, obits are pretty boring, with endless lists of surviving relatives, no cause of death, and lists of clubs or activities trying to convey the dignity of the person who passed.


I want my obit to read like my life really is—a little weird, a lot of fun, and without a lot of dignity.  I think all obits should be required to have two things:

  1. Cause of death.  This might be painful in some circumstances, but the fact is, if you leave us to our imaginations, we are pretty much guaranteed to think of something far worse than what really happened. Even suicide can be addressed delicately, such as “took his own life.”  I‘ve been told the NY Post does this, and it makes people more sympathetic.

Why is knowing the cause of death important? Because if the person died young I want to know why, and if there is something I could be protecting my children from; or, if the deceased died from something like pancreatic cancer, is there an increase in pancreatic cancer deaths in my area?  Should I be concerned?  If the person died from old age, were they in an “old peoples’ sanctuary?” (description courtesy of Daughter #1) Which one?  I might want to go there–or not.

  1. At least two interesting facts about the person, and I don’t mean “Johnny served in the military for twenty years.” I mean something personal, like “Johnny could have drunk Gerald Ford under the table, if they’d ever met,” or “Sally was known for her bravery in wearing horizontal stripes.”

I’m so tired of reading a who’s who directory of Rotary Clubs and philanthropic giving. Tell me what would have made me want to get to know the person. Did he play practical jokes on people?  Did she like modern art? Did she like to ride ATVs with her hair on fire? People like me want to know.

And that’s probably why obits are what they are–because people like me want to know.



1 Comment so far
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Great bit of philosophy done in a humorous way. Loved the Betty Crocker obit. I often wonder about causes, especially young people. I’ve seen some obits that extend to two full columns. It’s like the family listed every single accomplishment and all friends and relatives. sd


Comment by energywriter

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