There are a lot of things you don’t think about when you get ready to start your own newspaper – you’re so excited about reporting the news and making sure the community knows what’s going on, it doesn’t dawn on you that if you print arrests and divorces you may end up having to put your friends or yourself or your own children in there too. Same with obituaries.
This week there has been an inordinate number of obituaries and some of them have been too close for comfort. My Aunt died a couple of weeks ago – a spectacular woman in whom we stood in awe as little girls. Her memorial is Friday so I’m running her obituary this week in tribute.
But the worst (and best) thing about this is helping a family through the obituary process, the back-and-forth emails, how do you write it how do you send it how do you attach a photo, only to open their final product and see that the whole time their mother turns out to be one of your dearest friends. A couple of weeks ago we had a get-together, but she canceled because she didn’t feel well. And now, there she is staring at me from her obituary photo.
And another friend too. A crazy, fun, great human – gone. But not forgotten. Never forgotten. We do these obituaries to honor our friends and to remember.
I ran into another friend this week who just lost his brother. You absolutely hate to say something and bring up the pain, but then you don’t want to not say something and be disrespectful to the memory of their person and the pain your friend is going through. The old “how the heck do you handle this situation” question.
I learned a really good lesson when my dad crashed his airplane several years ago and hung on in a bed in the Intensive Care for weeks, only mostly dead – Go.
Go to the hospital. Sit with the family. Share your memories. Take food. Take books. Take them out for a walk, or sit in the room with their wounded while you send them out for a walk or a shower. The people who came and did all those things for us, saved us, surely as I’m sitting here, and dad too.
Death is hard and its sad for those of us left behind and frankly, I’m really tired of it. But it brings out the best in us in so many ways – gives us the opportunity to give. To be there for each other. To recognize a life well lived, and remind us to live well, live hard, and soak up everything we can.
While we all work a little more diligently on that – living better, we’ll be right here, honoring our departed by getting the word out about their lives, their families, their memorials, and as always…
…keeping you Posted.