It is a sure sign of old age when the obituary section of the local newspaper holds more interest than  the comics or the sports page. Yet, when I read the obits, I have to suppress a cackle of sick mirth when I see that someone has died “unexpectedly.”  Don’t we all die unexpectedly? There  is a viable (?) alternative to this description: “suddenly. ” I don’t understand why more people don’t use that term instead of “unexpectedly.”  It leaves too much room for interpretation and conjecture. My home town newspaper recently ran an obituary for a man named “Bob” who died unexpectedly.  Following the listing of the next of kin, the final line was: “Bob was an avid racer and bee keeper.”  To which my overactive imagination immediately went to possible Jackass-inspired possibilities for Bob’s unexpected death.  I am old, but also very immature.

And, another question: do the dead really read the memorials that are written in the newspapers?  “Missing you, my dear husband, after 25 years….”  Is there a call-out in the great beyond? “Hey, Harry, there’s a message for you in the Podunk Press!  Your wife still misses you after 25 years”  Meanwhile Harry has moved on and is currently inhabiting the body of a thirteen-year-old girl.  The message comes to her in the form of a dream which she immediately dismisses and moves on to a more pleasant dream: Justin Beiber just phoned and he misses you.

I almost put a memorial in the paper to my father on what would have been his hundredth birthday, until I realized that, outside of a very few people, his birthday would not be remembered.  So, Dad will have to be satisfied with a mere Happy Birthday! from his loving daughter who still misses him every day.

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