Normally I write about frivolous things with smart-ass humor, or climb up on my soap box and rant good and loud. This post is different.
My sister Melanie and I said good-bye to our terminally ill mother last spring. We leaned on one another during the months we took care of her, and then as we carried out her last wishes. We had lost our father in 1993 and now it was just the two of us. Being “the writer” of the family it fell to me to write mom’s obituary. It had to be perfect. I struggled for 3 days on the thing until I couldn’t find anything more to re-write. That and I had the thing memorized.
If you have ever had the misfortune to write one, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean. How do you sum up somebody’s entire life? Especially someone you have known and loved your whole life. Writing a stranger’s obituary would be so much easier. Just the facts. No memories. No emotions.
Last month I got a phone call – Melanie died. WTF?? How could she just die in her sleep like that? She’s my younger sister. The second shock was the cause of her death. The coroner explained to me that Mel was healthy – except she had advanced stages of coronary artery disease. Her arteries were so blocked that her poor heart simply gave out. I can almost hear my mom holler, “Well, SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!”. Mom always did get to the point.
So, here I sit sweating over another obituary. Mel’s memorial will be on the 16th, and tonight is my self-inflicted deadline. At 10:08 PM (PDT) I stopped fussing with the copy, closed my eyes and sent my sister’s obit and photo to our local newspaper, and a Bay Area newspaper. Maybe some of her former classmates/co-workers/buddies will see it and drop by.
I hope so – Mel deserves that.