Wednesday 22 February 2012


There was an obituary that ran in a Florida paper recently regarding a 94-year-old woman, Josie Anello, who recently died. There was nothing unusual to report in terms of her life; she was married for sixty-four years – damn impressive – had three children, and from the sounds of it, was a generous kindhearted woman that was loved by many.

The funny part is, or sad, depending on how you look at it, was the wording in the obit when it came to her children. It stated that, “she was survived by her son, AJ, who loved and cared for her; Daughter ‘Ninfa’ (I’m assuming that’s a typo, otherwise, I’m not even sure how to pronounce that), who betrayed her trust, and her son ‘Peter’ who broke her heart." 
How much money shall we put on it that AJ was the author of this very pointed obituary?

It got me thinking about obituaries, and how they almost read like resumes (or CV’s for you Brits) in terms of our lifespan. In short, how they use far too few words to encapsulate, embellish, sugar coat and sometimes even - ahem - fabricate about the lives we lead (although not in the case of Josie of course; that one seemed pretty spot on). Now, of course we all want to be remembered in the kindest ways as possible. None of us want to have an obituary that talks about our stingy nature, our bad temper, and horrible breath. That would just be mean; so I suppose why not focus on all our good traits, seems fitting enough for our official send off. 

In the case of Ms. Anello, I suppose there is something refreshing about an obituary that somehow captured the truth of our lives, warts and all, just for the sheer humanity of it. Imagine the obituaries you'd stumble over, they'd be far more entertaining that's for sure...'yes, she was loved by her family – whom she often pissed off – survived by her son, whom she doted on and often smothered too much, and was married to her partner for twenty six years, ten of which wanted to kill her for always complaining he didn’t do enough cleaning around the house.' I'm sure some would get much more colorful than that, considering what humans can do to one another throughout a lifetime.

I’m sure it was heartbreaking for Ms. Anello to know that two of her children did not hold her in high enough regard to treat her right while she was alive (obviously, we’re going on AJ’s opinions in his word usage, but something tells me he had his reasons). And of course, I’m hoping that her two children, who broke her heart and betrayed her trust, took pause when they read their mother’s obituary. I suppose that is something we'd all want people to do when they read an all too brief summation of our lives.

Me, I think obituaries, should be a bit longer, more colorful even. Hell, why not a power point presentation with pictures, pie charts and a soundtrack. We put enough blood, sweat and tears into life, I want more than a couple of paragraphs about how I touched people’s hearts and loved to knit (I don’t knit, but maybe I’ll start in my later years. It’s either that or golf).  Maybe I’ll start grooming the King now to choose his vocabulary very wisely when it comes to his dear old…ahem, young and vibrant, mother. “My Mom was the most generous, beautiful, fun mom in the world, and she had great hair too.” [The King loves my hair, and detests when I have it up. Seriously, the kid is very particular and will come over to me and take it down and tousle it about. It’s pretty funny].

Then again, if we’re talking about being truthful, I’m sure he’ll have to include that I was an insomniac who could get really grumpy (especially towards Daddy) without sleep, who ate far too many raisins and insisted that he eat his vegetables the whole time. I suppose I can live with that description.

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