Some days really aren't worth writing about. Today was basically uneventful; or at least I wasn't privy to any really good news. Maybe that's because I read the newspaper and that's all like...really bad news. Which reminds me. Not long ago I was on the phone with my brother in Alaska and we were talking about our mother. She is an amazing woman, don't get me wrong, she has tolerated my dad after all for 55 years give or take a year. But we were having a "Mom is always frantic, always exhausted, chases her tail, what are we going to do with her" kind of moment. A concerned sibling moment as we watch our parents age and worry about their stress levels. Then, in my brother's attempt to reinforce his point --which by the way he didn't need to because I grew up with the same mother, he stated "...AND she reads the obituaries!" I didn't say a word. "No" he stated. "You don't understand. She spends hours reading about people that she's never met!" I remained silent. "hmmmmmmm...." was all I could eventually muster. Finally, I lowered my voice to a nearly inaudible sound and whispered, "I read the obituaries." I don't think he heard me. I said it again, a little louder this time. "I READ the obituaries." "Ya, I heard yuh" was all he had to say. To this day I don't think my brother grasped what I was telling him; or maybe he is in denial. I am in fact, my mother. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But in my defense.....
Sometimes the obituaries are the only good news I can find. I don't mean because these people have died, I mean because they lived! The people whose lives I read of have more often then not lived a life worth living; worth reading about. Just yesterday, I read the obituary of this woman who led an amazing life....she had run marathons and climbed mountains, worked hard and nurtured her children, cared for the sick and took in the weary. I swear I wanted to know her; only she was dead. If she wasn't I would have wanted her to be my best friend. She really was amazing.
I know what you're thinking, and no I'm not crazy, but it didn't start out this way, really it didn't. It started out with me, innocently scanning the obituaries in the hopes that no one I knew would be in them. Then, little by little, something would catch my eye -- a picture, a phrase, something....and that is how my obituary reading began. It wasn't even all a selfish read, I really truly feel that this is the last time this person will ever have the life they lived and what they stood for acknowledged, and if their whole entire life full of love and laughter, experiences and journeys is wrapped up into a few paragraphs, the least I can do is to honor them, to absorb into my soul the person that they were because in the blink of an eye, we are no longer. With the exception of the babies that leave me all but sad for the rest of the day and sometimes much longer -- I find joy in the lives of the departed. There are even times I fantasize that something half as wonderful will be written about me; that perhaps I too have led a life worth writing about. And then I think maybe I should just write my own obituary. All joking aside.
So dear brother, I, like mother, read the obituaries. Sometimes they are the reminder I need to live my day to the fullest. Sometimes the person lived so well, that I cut the obituary out of the paper and insist that the rest of the family read it too so that they can bask in the richness of this person's life. Sadly, I usually find the article laying on the same spot I left it and wonder why no one else cares as much as I; other than my mother.
And sometimes, when the day is uneventful, the announcements of the death of one's loved one is the only news that brings me back to the greatness of our moments and the importance of living life well, because whatever these people did with their lives, whoever they were, someone cared enough to want the world to know in their final departure; and if my mother and I are the only people to read about the life and death of someone we've never met, then at least our days are enriched because that person lived. Today was one of those days.
Sweet dreams and always, GOOD dreams,