Sunday, April 16, 2017

Obituaries

Does anyone else out there read the obituaries? For the past couple of years I get my papers online (despite my last rant against things digital.) I get The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle - that is what I can afford. I scan through most articles, but I notice that what I read faithfully, and avidly, are the obituaries. In South Africa the Rand Daily Mail had a classified section in which were posted names of the newborns, the newly wed, and the recently deceased. This section was known as 'hatched, matched, and dispatched." It always garnished a lot of attention in my family. The dispatched section was not nearly as comprehensive as the obituaries are here. They drily showed the name of the dear departed and the date on which they died. We were left in the dark as to the details of their lives. Likewise for the hatched and matched. Since my arrival in the States, I have been fascinated by the obituary notices. I am known to sob when reading about untimely deaths, diseases endured, magnificent achievements of the deceased. Many of whom apparently devoted much of their lives to animals, to horticulture, to good works. As I grow older, I am constantly horrified by the large number of deaths of my equals, or those far younger. Sometimes I observe rather grimly that most of the deaths are of my age group. On the odd occasion when people do reach at least their allotment of three score years and ten, or far more, I am not so saddened by their passing. When I read these obituaries I would like to know the reasons for the passing of my cohorts, or those younger. Their loved ones do not always offer this information. I am left having to imagine the reasons for their untimely passing. Needless to say, my imaginings are not happy ones. Some people seem to have lived lives of enormous scholastic achievement. Many married the "loves of their lives" and apparently raised large, closeknit loving families whilst they traveled, studied, played sports, played musical instruments, taught and did endless good deeds. Others managed to marry several successful times. My sister visited a few years ago at the time I still received the daily newspaper in its normal form. (will the name newspaper change?) She pored over the obituaries as avidly as I did - (a possible genetic link?) She laughed at a description of a mother who had died in the fullness of her years. Her children stated that she ate copious amounts of ice cream. This was something our own mother did in her latter years. Well, that's all for now, I have to read today's obituaries.

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