Friday, December 03, 2010
Personal Ads and Obituaries
I have long had a curious habit of reading personal ads and obituaries. I find it fascinating how people represent themselves, how a life of dreams and experiences and sorrows can be condensed into a couple of paragraphs.
Although it's the rare personal ad that isn't written by the person themselves (I have come across a couple written by a well-meaning daughter for their single mother), I know to take them with a grain of salt. Of course a person looking to embark on a relationship is going to phrase things in a positive light, and reading between the lines can be more revealing than the ad itself.
Obituaries are another matter, although they may require a similar reading between the lines. My father died last week, and his obit was a marvel of things not mentioned. Somehow I never realized that obituaries are usually written by the family of the deceased - I guess I assumed that the person carefully crafted their own words of remembrance. I recognize that people would generally want to be remembered in a favourable way, and that survivors would want to focus on the happier moments, and that the choices that are made in times of difficult emotion tend towards what gives comfort.
But I think the best words I have heard in the aftermath of my father's death were, "Well, his struggles are over now." That feels the most true to me.
Peace to you, Dad.