The scrapbook version of our lives

Last week a cousin of mine (through marriage) lost his dad. I saw the notice in the Globe and Mail. Good thing, because I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Made me think back, to announcementswhen I was a kid.

My mother used to read the Obits every single morning. Never missed. When she saw a familiar name, she’d get on the phone and call my aunts and my grandmother. Sometimes, even friends who knew the deceased. I can still hear the conversations, all these years later.

It drove me insane. I used to tell her it was macabre. Ghoulish. Gross. A miserable start to an otherwise nice day. It almost felt like prying, because for the most part she didn’t even know who these people were.

And then she’d tell me it was important. “I have to know”, she’d always say, “so I can send a sympathy

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Day 63. The Obits

You’re going to think I’m twisted when I tell you.  I read the obits.  I read them everyday in the Toronto Globe & Mail; and once a week in the Sunday New York Times.  I’ve been doing it for years.

I don’t do it to check to see if there’s anyone in there I know.  That’s the last thing I want to find.  I read them because they’re interesting, even if they don’t say much, which most of them don’t.  They’re quite expensive, so most people are very careful about how many words they use.  But even at their most minimal, they acknowledge that this person lived, had a life.

You see their age, and whether or not they were married.  Whether or not they had children and grandchildren.  And great grandchildren.  Nieces or nephews.  Sisters or brothers.  Who their parents were.  Where they were born.  Where they went to school, where they worked, and why they died.  From what.  Sometimes they include hobbies and interests.  And, because of donation requests, they often tell you what causes and charities were Continue reading