Is Your Name in the Obituaries Today?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How do you start your day?   I start mine with my morning "routine"....put my pod in my Keurig, while the coffee brews I take my pills (reminder that I'm not a youngster anymore), then I take my coffee to my computer desk where I spend 30-60 minutes sipping coffee and catching up online. sounds blissful and luxurious and it is.  I'm fortunate enough to be retired and to be able to have these leisurely mornings. I'm sure you all have your own "routine", us humans are creatures of habit.

Part of that daily routine involves reading the obituaries.  Ok...So I know that may sound morbid to some of you.   Of the entire paper why read the obituaries?   Well much of my working days were spent in medical offices, one in a Podiatry office where a good percentage of the patients were over 70.  My last job I served as a Service Coordinator in a low-income senior apartment complex where all my clients were over 55 and at least 80% were 70-96.  These clients weren't just clients, they were my friends and my surrogate grandmas.  It is pretty obvious that when your world is surrounded by folks who are on the further end of their life spectrum, it is to be expected that you might "lose" them.  So, at some point in my past I began my daily scan of the obituaries where, on occasion, I'd see the name or face of someone I knew.   On occasion I would see the face of someone I'd never expect to find among the obituaries but in life two things are certain and death is one of them.

Today when I was reading my morning paper, I reached the end of the list of those who had passed and it occurred to me that "not seeing" the name of someone I knew was a good thing.  Now I know you're all saying, "Well, duh, it took you all this time to figure that out?"   No, I've always hoped I wouldn't see a name I knew, but today I actually stopped and pondered it.   Each day that I read the obituaries, whether that be 7 days in a row or 60 days in a row, that I don't recognize a person in this means that I am blessed to not have lost someone I've had the privilege of knowing.   It means that my "routine" of reading the obituaries is not a waste when I don't see anyone I know - it means that I have scored a victory in not having to say goodbye to a friend or colleague.  Not seeing a name I recognize means I have something to be grateful for instead of feeling I just wasted 3 minutes of my day with no payback.  The opposite is true, those three minutes spent not finding anyone were the ultimate payback!

Life is how we look at it.  Sometimes we fail to recognize that.   Sometimes we are so busy buzzing through life, we don't stop to see the obvious.  We read the obituaries and move along to the local news without stopping to be grateful for this monumental but often unrecognizable blessing.

I encourage you today to take a moment to read the obituaries in your local newspaper - either online or in print.  If you don't know anyone listed....stop and be grateful and realize it could easily have gone the other way.   Life is a gift.  Today is the only day we are sure we have, so make the most of it.

Thank you for allowing me to share by photos and thoughts with you!  And Have a Great Day!!!


  1. Years ago, I signed up with and entered a number of cities near my childhood NY home (Sherrill, Vernon, Verona, Oneida, Rome, etc) where I wished to monitor obituaries. Daily (if there are any) I receive an email with each obituary. Being so far away from my upstate NY home and so very many people who touched my life in numerous ways (teachers, friends, co-workers, etc), it is my way of acknowledging the value of one's life that has passed. At the very least, I am able to send a card or message to the loved ones left behind. I know what you mean about breathing a sigh of relief to not know any of those with an obituary, but it is still sad to see anyone on the list - particularly if that person is young. Tuesday I saw the name of a person that my dad used to talk about. Turns out the person was the grandson of my dad's friend. He has relatives in upstate NY and he passed away in Las Vegas at the tender young age of 31 while saving the life of a stranger being robbed. That fact alone enriched me and made me ponder my value and what I can do better with my life. The older I get the more nostalgic and mortal I feel. This practice is not morbid, it is respectful and sympathetic. Thank you for posting.

  2. Thank you for sharing Sharon and for your understanding.


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