642 Tiny Things To Write About: Obits

Write the first sentence of your obituary.

I did a little research on the history of obituaries, and they’ve existed for quite some time.  The Romans actually published obituaries of notable citizens in the Acta Diurna (Daily Events).  In the Victorian age, the obituary rose to new heights.  With their obsession with ceremony and mourning, the citizens of the late 19th century sometimes immortalized the passing of their dearly departed in obituary verse. With the digitization of newspapers, obituaries have  now morphed into memorial webpages, allowing the living to comment on the dead on line and offer condolences.  Some people actually write their own obituaries; my favorite was Art Buchwald’s video one for the New York Times which started out “Hi I’m Art Buchwald and I just died!”

The joke I heard growing up that was shared between my mother’s friends is that they never looked at the obituaries in the paper because they were afraid they’d see their names there.   Her generation was firm believers that nice women only appeared in the newspaper three times in their lives: Birth, Marriage and Death.   Their obituaries emphasized who they had married, who their parents were and the children and grandchildren they left behind.

As far as the afterlife is concerned, I told my husband and children I want to be cremated and then they should bury my ashes with all the ashes of the cats who’ve shared this earth with our family.  My fervent hope is that I come back to haunt the neighborhood as “The Ghost of the Crazy Cat Lady and Her Horde of Cats”.   But given that women in my family generally make it into their eight and ninth decades, I’ve got ways to go before I scare the neighborhood kids as a ghostly apparition.

So here’s the first sentence of my obituary:

“A lover of music, cooking and strange cats, TW shuffled off this mortal coil after over nine decades on this mortal earth”.

The rest I’ll leave up to the kids to compose.





1 thought on “642 Tiny Things To Write About: Obits

  1. I’ve never thought about my obituary before, but now you’ve got me thinking. It certainly gives you impetus to hurry up and do what you’ll be known for doesn’t it? Thanks!

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