Obits shed light on volume, variety and value of life

| January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

funeral_umbrellaI’ve started to read the obituaries.

I’ll say right up front that — despite my advanced age and advancing senility — I am not doing it to see if I’m in there.

This relatively new activity for me began about a year ago when I noticed that I hadn’t seen the guy next door for some time.

On a morbid hunch I Googled his name and found his obit. He had died five weeks before.

That was unconscionable, and it got me checking the obituaries in at least one of the local metropolitan dailies.

Amazing life stories

Occasionally I’ll do more than just scan for names I recognize and get lost in the life stories of folks I didn’t know.

That happened recently.

What dawned on me as I read some obituaries was that I had missed knowing some pretty amazing individuals.

One gentleman had been an FBI agent specializing in organized crime right here in Minnesota.

A woman who died at the age of 104 had taught piano for 60 years.

One man was in the advertising business and not only wrote the copy for a local brewery but was the voice of the beer guy in the radio ads.

The longer the better

The longer obituaries tend to draw my attention, and a relatively lengthy one shared that the deceased had studied at Cal Tech, and some of his significant work included development of fuel cells for the aerospace industry and mass battery storage for electric cars.

Written by one of her children, a woman was memorialized in part this way: “Animal lover. Toddler whisperer. Food guru. Scrabble master.”

A 99-year-old’s obituary caught my eye; she had 18 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.

A relatively young woman passed away who had run a Ronald McDonald House. Another woman had both worked for Sports Illustrated magazine and taught English for a year in Poland. Still another had been the supervising nurse in a hospital intensive care unit, and her late brother-in-law had been a Catholic bishop.

And those are all just in the folks whose names began with letters from A to K.

There are plenty more interesting life stories in the M to Zs.

Along with missing having known these individuals, I realized I missed the stories they could have told, too, the sorrows and joys they might have shared, the pieces of wisdom their life experiences taught them.

For me, the take-away in all this is the incredible volume, variety and value in people’s lives, so many people’s lives, in fact, everyone’s life.

Isn’t that just the best reason for being pro-life?

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Category: This Catholic Life