Many of us will spend Mother’s Day remembering mom. How you remember her depends on your perspective and how you shape your memories. Do you feel your glass is half empty or half full? While there are facets of our lives for which we lack control, we do have the ability to choose how we view our past and it’s up to us whether we make peace with it.
My glass is half full and so are my memories. I find the older I get, the more I focus on the positive. I not only…Continue
Since I'm the only one of my siblings living in the town we grew up in – Atlanta – I am often the bearer of sad passings of friends from our childhoods. I monitor the obituaries daily and often send one to them, knowing they will be interested: A best friend's elderly mother, a favorite teacher, a boyfriend's dad and, just this week, an old boyfriend himself.
"He was the first boy I ever kissed," my sister Wendy said. "It was very awkward. I had just gotten braces…Continue
Added by Susan Soper on April 30, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments
Q. My father is very ill and wants his ashes scattered in a lake near the family summer home when he dies. Are there restrictions on doing so? Who should I contact for specific information? Also, there will be no minister present when the ashes are scattered. Is there a protocol we should follow or particular words that should be said?
Your questions raise some complicated issues. One is location. Is the lake on private or public property? The owner’s…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on April 25, 2013 at 11:18am — No Comments
Remembering happy memories or looking at photos may be painful at first but in time may help you to heal rather than bring pain. Writing down pleasant memories in a journal or keeping a list of things you wish you could have said to your loved one when he or she was alive may help. Writing may also provide you with a healthy outlet for your emotions. What about keeping mementos? Because everyone grieves…Continue
Added by Christina on May 3, 2011 at 8:00pm — No Comments
Right on the stiletto heels of spring, eye-popping and heady heights of color and bounce – here comes Mother’s Day!
But for those of us without our mothers, even if you are one, it can feel more like a flat-footed event – particularly as Mother’s Day has gained commercial and emotional momentum over the years.
When my mother died, in 1968 at age 45, Mother’s Day was noted with breakfast in bed or by taking some special chores off her plate or by planting a…
Sometimes it’s pretty hard to find a silver lining in a tragic event – particularly the loss of a valued friend or family member. But time, the most enduring healer, and patient reflection can often point to something positive that resulted from a terribly sad time.
A little over a year ago, a college friend, Sally Chambers Bond, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She was devastated. She was brave. She was hopeful. With courage and grace she took on the treatments we…
Added by Susan Soper on April 18, 2011 at 11:30am — No Comments
Who amongst us hasn’t had the best – but unfulfilled – intentions to visit a dying friend or relative? Or even to pop a card or note in the mail just to let them know they were in our thoughts? It’s human nature to procrastinate even with easy things so when it comes to the difficulty of putting words to a sensitive and final situation, it’s no wonder we don’t always follow through.
It happened to me not long ago and even though the person who died was not a close…Continue
Added by Susan Soper on March 4, 2011 at 10:30am — No Comments
During my siblings’ annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Bluffton, S.C. several years ago, my brother, Mike, pulled out a tattered, red spiral notebook he had discovered in a box. The distinctive handwriting was unmistakable – our mother’s script, written in a sort of back-slanted, left-handed style unlike any other. The pages were filled with her thoughts, life lessons and musings written about a year before she died at age 45.
My sister Wendy took the notebook…Continue
Happy Birthday with Hershey Bars
On my dad’s October 8th birthday each year, I buy 100 Hershey bars and just hand them out randomly to whomever crosses my path that day. The first one always goes to the sales clerk wherever I happen to buy them, and then I move on: the post office, a department store, gas station, the restaurant where I buy lunch, the pharmacy while filling…Continue
Q. My aunt, a woman of great accomplishment, is dying. She was very good to me throughout my life, and as her closest living relative I want to write an obituary for her now and have it ready to send to our local newspaper when the time comes. How can I make the obituary as special as she is?
A. One of the best obituaries I’ve ever read was the one that appeared in the New York Times last June…
Added by Florence Isaacs on October 14, 2010 at 9:30am — No Comments
The day my father was buried – July 4, 1996 – a young tennis player named MaliVai Washington made it all the way to the finals at Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Mal’s then-girlfriend-now-wife, Jennifer, came to the service on the beach at Ponte Vedra, Fla. to join a small band of George Soper fans paying their last respects.
George and Mal had been unlikely friends. A 70-ish white man, decidedly Republican and retired though not a “suit.” And a handsome,…
Added by Susan Soper on October 5, 2010 at 1:30pm — No Comments
My mother’s birthday was July 25. She would have been 87, hard for me to even imagine as she died at age 45 in 1968 – 42 years ago. A whole lifetime ago. So many culture changes ago. So many upheavals ago – none of them, however, as devastating as losing a mother at a young age.
As my avocation is reading and writing obituaries, wanting to always know more about what makes people tick – even when they are no longer ticking – I’ve been thinking about how her…
My dad died 14 years ago, on my brother’s June birthday. My friend Jane’s father died on her June birthday. Not surprisingly, when Father’s Day comes, it underscores the shocking and ill-timed departures of those guys we loved so much.
Even though at first we couldn’t really talk about our emotions, Jane and I have learned to share them just about every year since 1997 at our annual Dead Dads Dinner. Each May, when we know we’re heading into the blues that come with those…
When I recently congratulated a good friend on becoming a certified Pilates coach, she perked up and answered right back, “Now I have a new item for my obit!”
Never mind that she has had a long and successful career as a real estate agent, is the mother of two, grandmother of four and a widely traveled, sophisticated beauty.
Pilates? This is important! She worked hard to qualify for this certification – going through 600 hours of grueling precision training…
Like people, obituaries come in many shapes and sizes: long or short, elegant or homely, glorified or humble. In newspapers and online, they come in just two forms: the editorial obits written by a writer on the newspaper staff or the paid notices submitted by funeral homes and crematoriums, often compiled by a family member or friend.
I’ve written many of both kinds – dozens as an impartial journalist, several as a devoted friend, and one as a heartbroken, loving…
Ever since I had to write my dad’s obituary in the middle of the night with no resources at hand, I’ve been an inveterate and appreciative consumer of obits. I read them in newspapers, in magazines, online and even in books (see 52 McGs: The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York Times Reporter Robert McG. Thomas, an incredibly creative compilation of posthumous profiles). I clip them, email them, excerpt them and, always, learn from them. Sadly, I often discover amazing…Continue
Is awareness of all things death-related a perception thing? That once you’ve lost someone, you become more aware of the buzz around you about death and grieving? Or is it that, as part of the aging process, we are all more accepting of our mortality and others’ too? Or could it be that as we age and lose loved ones, we are all just plain paying more attention to the topic – and talking about it more?
A recent spate of death-related stories in the media – all this month – leads me…