Gainesville, Florida is a most marvelous place. Though we have our share of ill and elderly, hardly anyone dies here.
Like many boomers approaching seventy, I’ve started reading obituaries. I like the little nuggets of stories they present, though it surprises me that many families write such long ones, considering the cost. (I believe newspapers didn’t used to charge for obituaries, but everything now must be a profit center.)
The obituary page was particularly full today, with fourteen obituaries. But only two of the dear departed had died. Half of them passed away and one passed on. Number 11 took his stroll onto Glory Lane, number 12 went to be with the Lord, Number 13 set sail on her final and greatest journey. And the heavens became brighter as they received Number 14. Considering the subject, the obituaries page is a very lively place.
Some of my dearest friends have told me that I am very blunt. This is a tactful way of saying that I am tactless. I deny the charge - nobody knows how often I bite my tongue - but I admit that I detest euphemisms.
I often bite my tongue. image:topenglish.sk
Recently some good people in Gainesville organized a service to help homeless people with terminal illnesses. One of my favorite local geniuses, who shall remain nameless, proposed a design for the business card. It was clear and simple: “Croaking? Call (phone number)”. I thought it was just right, but I’m not involved in the project, and nobody asked me.
In idle moments I like to imagine my own obituary. I think about the things I did that mattered to me at the time, and wonder how far back I should go. I feel no need to say where I attended elementary school, that I came in third and last in a swimming race when I was five, or that I earned a sewing badge in Girl Scouts by making an apron. (Gainesville obituaries delve deep.)
I know that I wouldn’t want to mention a beloved dog or cat as a survivor, but I fret a bit about which children I would list, and how they should be described, what with steps and fosters. I couldn’t truthfully say they all mourn me.
So I edit and revise, happily dithering. The one statement about which I have no doubt is the description of what happened. I don’t intend to pass on, or away, or into Glory. I’m just gonna die.
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