Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life Notices........

Do you read Death notices and Obituaries?  I do.  That is why I think of them as Life notices, they try to capture a person's life.
I started reading them in my 20's, I don't know why.  As the years went on, and I was involved in patient care, I read them for info on people I had cared for, still later, I read them because I was involved in a ministry that sent mailings to shut-ins, and I did not want to make a mistake and sending a cheery note to grieving families. And now, it is part of me, I read almost every death notice and obit and memoriam notice., in every paper that I read.
There were so few pictures with the notices in the old days, and a lot of obituaries.
In case you don't know, Death Notices are paid for by the family of the deceased, charged by the line numbers, and include everone that they are related to/spouses and details about services. Obituaries are considered a news story, put in by the newspaper, with input from the family as needed.  As a news story, they can put in what they want, so if you ever did anything famous or unfortunately infamous, they can include that also.They also include survived- by information, not spouses of their childrens names, just their spouse and/or children.  I always thought that was wrong, the spouses of the children are so involved in the lives of that person also.  Our paper had a change in policy some years back, Obituaries will only be done on the "creme de la creme", in other words an ordinary person who lived a good life, but did not do anything earth-changing were no longer going to have an obituary published.  The decision was made to help the paper be more "efficient".
For people like myself, this was a loss.  I liked to read how people spent their lives, what their achievements were, what their history was.  I get a lot of information from the death notice about family ties, but that is just the beginning of who they were.
So, for a time, very few obits were published.  I  think there were a lot of complaints, because after some time, more and more obits appeared, not as many as in the past, but more.
There was an  increase lately  in the number of pictures that were included with the death notices, they are interesting to look at.  Sometimes the family picks a picture of the deceased when they were very young. I didn't use to understand that, but I read once that people want to remember that person at their best-young and full of life.  When my father died, his family was in charge of the funeral, and his mother had put a picture on the closed casket of a young kid-maybe 18 or something.  I was too dumb and maybe too much  in confusion as to if I should mourn him or not to realize that the photo was of him.  I had to ask.......................
It says a lot that they would pick a picture of this man when he was a mere lad, they had to take care of him his whole life, so to him he was never a man.  Just my opinion, not based on any discussion with them..........
Sometimes the pictures that are chosen make the person look so mean-no smiles, kinda like they are saying "DON'T TAKE MY PICTURE  DAMMIT!". I am sure there are a lot of pictures of me with that espression.  I like the pictures with hats-today there was a picture of a lovely lady wearing some type of head gear-it could have been a motorcycle helmet, but she didn't look like she "rode", and then I read that she was involved with horse-raising/training, so that is what the gear was.  Sometimes, the pictures are of the subject looking off to the horizon.  I imagine this was part of a wonderful contemplative photo of someone looking into the sunset or mountains, etc., being very content, at peace.
When my two SStep-Fathers passed away, they published their obits, very nice tribute to them.
When my Matka died, I had what I thought was another good obit.  Actually, I had started writing a rough copy of it right after her husband died because I knew I would be so emotional that I would not do it justice if I waited.
They did not publish it.........................
I know everyone thinks that their relatives are special, and I think the same way.
Since her death, I have noticed that some people include the obit info in with the death notice, that way, they are sure to have it published.  Some people might not be able to afford this, but we would have gladly paid this in tribute to Matka.  I still am disappointed  with myself for not thinking of that as an option.  Something I could have done better.  It will always bother me that this final tribute to her could not have been read.
Until now.
Thank you for being kind and allowing me to post this:

Mary C. Arnesen, 86, born October 7, 1923 in DuBois Pennsylvania, died August 8, 2010. Mrs. Arnesen moved to Buffalo in the 1940’s to raise her family, and lived in the area, except for two years while living near Rochester. She worked for over thirty years as a grocery store cashier and office clerk, most of those years at the former Loblaws and Bells Park Edge.

Her family remembers her as being full of fun, participating in many social and church groups. She loved bowling, having bowled a game of 242 when she was 79; bingo; pinochle, crafts; bus trips with her many friends; gardening; cooking great Italian meals for her family; dancing; crocheting sweaters and blankets for her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; but mostly she enjoyed spending time with her family, still playing on the floor with the youngest ones.

Mrs. Arnesen worked many additional jobs while working full time as a cashier, including waitressing, as a companion for the elderly, and at one point while raising her young family, she operated her own restaurant on Bailey Avenue, “Mary’s Skillet”, where she was known for her great pies.

In retirement she was still very active, and spent many years caring devotedly for her late husband Bernhard during his struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. She held many positions in the social groups which she belonged to and was always available to help when needed for these and church service groups.

She is survived by her sons John and Terrance Connelly and daughters Joan Michalski, Kathryn Merkel and Sarah Kutter and her Sister Rose Reilly.
There she is, an ordinary woman, living an ordinary life that filled her family in an extraordinary way.
And because Matka was full of fun, here is a song that got her clapping and dancing and singing and laughing, I am smiling right now thinking of her reaction:


Margaret Hall said...

My dear SFriend~! Oft times we all have probably skimmed through the paper and have avoided the obits. To some it possibly means that they don't want to dwell upon the negative feeling of that person gone from the earth..I have been one of those people..However, after reading your explanation of why and how your read over the obituaries in the paper, perusing the pictures for that person, makes me take second notice... =) It is, in reality a celebration notice of that particular person's life and the memories and family that they have left behind...Bravo, SFriend, you have great respect for humanity!
After reading your obituary for Matka, I would have loved to have met her and shared in her delight of life and it's fun and pleasures..I believe that somewhere, Matka IS clapping her hands and dances with warm laughter...
Thanking you for a lovely posting and glimpse of Matka...
Hugs for the weekend...


I was fortunate to meet Matka at Kiwanis gatherings. Your tribute was well written and (I'm sure) very well received, both here and in heaven!

sally said...

Thank you both Ladies, you are so supportive of me and my ramblings!