When I hit my 50’s I began checking the Obits every day. Getting older will do that. I have seen several friend’s parents on the list. At least one close friend from high school. Several distant friends. Teachers. Past co-workers. Neighbors.
Obits have guidelines. Most have a picture. Most mention the deceased parents, siblings, spouse, children, grandchildren, and maybe a pet. If the deceased was a church attender it mentions the name of the church and what functions they performed at the church. Many say “Entered glory” or “Met his creator” or “Went home to Jesus”. They almost always say “Passed” or “Passed peacefully”. If there was sickness involved they say “Fought a courageous battle” and if it was a surprise they say “Passed unexpectedly”. I’m not trying to be crude but when they say that about a 98 year old I wonder when they were expected to pass.
Careers are mentioned. Hobbies. Previous addresses. Obits can be long or short. Vague or detailed. Some leave a great deal of questions that make a curious reader want to know more. Maybe the mystery. Maybe the cause. Some who are curious dig up social media trying to find out what happened (guilty).
The pictures. The pictures are interesting. Some older people will use a young photo. I’m sure there are many reasons for that. Many older Vets will use a young military photo. I personally like that. Most photos are cropped or edited. A reader can see that there is a spouse or someone else in the photo but they are always cut out. An obit photo is not about them. It’s about the deceased and only the deceased.
Some people look friendly. I look at some photos and say “I would have liked this person”. Some look funny. Some look sad. Some look angry. Can a reader tell about a person’s life by looking at their obit picture? I’m not sure. Whoever picked the photo probably picked the best one they had. Often the deceased are dressed up for a wedding or special event. It’s the ones who have a blurry or really bad photo that concern me. Was that the best photo the family had?
The photo signifies our last statement in life. I know some day that viewers will glance over my photo. If they don’t recognize me they will keep scanning looking at the others who share my page. If they knew me they will stop and read the full obit. What will my photo say? What will the brief statement of my life say? I’ve thought about writing my obit ahead of time. I like when funny people write humorous obits about themselves. If I keep procrastinating, I may wait to long.
I will be long gone by the time my obit reaches the paper. Maybe that’s what I should write, “By the time you are reading this, Brian is long gone…” Whatever is written won’t affect me one bit. The photo won’t either. Whether the picture is young or old, skinny or fat, hair or bald, I will be long gone so I won’t care. I just hope I convey that I had a good life and that I’m even happier now that I’m with my Savior.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24