Shall We Write Our Own Obituary?
A fellow blogger finds obituaries appearing in the local papers somewhat cut and dry. Each one appears more like a job description in a resume. It tells of what the person was and what he had done in generic terms that could be easily applied to anybody else. There’s no mention of anything that would make him unique or special. In her words, there’s “nothing of the essence of that person.”
I checked the obituary section of today’s paper and she’s right. It seems that they are based from a set of templates. Just fill in the blanks and you’re done. In a way, I don’t find it surprising. This section is usually assigned to a staff member of the newspaper who’s just starting in the business. It’s where he hones his skills before embarking in more interesting stuff like murder, rape, politics, etc.
The obituary is sometimes accompanied by a picture of the deceased. It could be a recent one taken before he passed away. It could be one from the distant past capturing a signature moment like at the time he joined the military or graduated from college. Actually, it could be any picture that the family wish the deceased to be remembered. For obvious reasons, the exceptions are pictures when he was still a baby or those taken after he died, i.e., whether lying on his deathbed or in the coffin.
The dearly departed look so happy and full of life in their pictures. If they appear somewhere else in the paper, you’d think that they’re still alive. I think they’re worth more than the blurbs that accompany them. In the hereafter, that’s probably how they’ll appear to their loved ones.
The blogger laments a lifetime defined in just one or few paragraphs. She thinks it deserves more than that and suggests that we should write our own obituary before anyone else does.
I don’t think it’s necessary, though. If we live our life right, there’s no need for validation. As a wise man once said, “the desire to do something that shall benefit the world, when neither praise nor obloquy will reach us where we sleep soundly in the grave, is the noblest ambition entertained by man.” And, shall we say, by the opposite sex, too.