What do you want your obituary to say?

Something I never thought about until a few weeks ago, when I started writing obituaries for The News Herald…

Obits come to me every day by phone, fax, email and sometimes people come into the newspaper and I collaborate with them.

In an odd way, it’s an honor to write (or help write) a summary of the story of a person’s life. Their interests, accomplishments, employers and the loving families that they leave behind–or that have predeceased them.

When I started the job, I was nervous about grammar and punctuation. Readers of this blog will understand! I’m not the ‘punctuation princess’ and I often bend the rules of grammar, sentence structure, etc.

familyMy job might just drive my children crazy.

I’m reminded each day that there are no guarantees. I’ve written notices for infants, teenagers…all the way up to nearly 100 year olds. There’s no hiding from it. Anybody can pass away. At any time.

After a rough day last week, I told my children that I needed them to drive carefully. That I loved them too much, for them to be careless. They knew I was serious. They made me promise to be careful, as well.

My mother passed away when I was 20, after a three-year battle with cancer. And my mother lost her mother early as well. My Aunt had lost both of her parents by the time she was 16. Her husband lost his father when he was only a teenager.

Probably, this is why my family ‘gets’ it. We’ve always gotten along. We don’t argue over petty things. If we’re angry or hurt, we address it with each other quickly, then move on. To the important stuff. Being together. Laughing. Having fun.

I was raised by (and around) people who lost parents young, and I lost my mother young. And I think that’s where I learned my values. Values shared by my family.

I always thank people. (Even if I don’t like them!) Those who do me a kindness will be thanked, like it or not!! I always tell my children I love them. Daily. Still. Even though they are teenagers. I don’t want things to go unsaid. Even if my ways seem silly to others, I sleep better at night.

Which brings me back to my original thought.

What would be written about me?

She was ‘nice.’ (little family joke)

She was a terrible driver. Sang so badly, that even at 18 months old, her daughter begged her to stop. She did NOT let her daughter have a pet snake, but she never said no to dogs…and even a cat, though she took Allegra every day so the kids could keep the cat.

‘Things’ happened to her; torn meniscus while gardening, dislocated (and broken) fingers watching a track meet, heels regularly caught in metal stair grating sent her tripping through door to work, tended to spill diet coke on herself while driving her car, never used oven timer and often ‘forgot’ things were cooking…and cooking. Went from always being early, to NEVER being on time.

COULD NOT complete a white picket fence. Appropriate, as my life is not a ‘white picket fence’ kind of life…


What I would like people to say?

That I was kind, compassionate, that I always did my best. That I never forgot my priorities; children, family, friends, dogs. That I enjoyed each day. (Or most of them.)

Did this get you thinking?

What would you want your obituary to say?

What might it say?

Hello News Herald

Playing With Perfect is now a part of The News Herald ‘s website.

Channeling sunshine, happiness and a bright future...

I was terribly excited to be a part of this blogging community. Until I learned that our local paper is owned by Journal Register Company, a large multi-media news company specializing in local journalism—in 992 communities, 10 states, and reaching almost 14 million people each month!  A tiny bit of trepidation (terror?) crept in to edge out my initial enthusiasm.

Honestly, there must be many writers more talented than I am. Writers with bylines, professional experience and spectacular sentence structure. Though I have been published locally over the years, my sentence structure could use some help. It falls far short of spectacular.

I am not a Perfect writer. Yet there are people out there—most of them not related to me—who seem to connect with my posts. Facebook, blog and email comments have been incredibly gratifying.

Could this be my exit?

The positive reinforcement is the reason I keep moving forward in sharing my experiences–though they are often disastrous. Also, I am now ‘out there’ in a public forum. What choice do I have but to keep writing until I succeed at something? I (hopefully) have reached my limit with regard to failure—I mean learning experiences—Surely, there must be a failure threshold? And I am closing in on it…


Otherwise, its possible that I’ll reach millions of people through The News Herald and Journal Register Company—for being a loser!

Not to worry. This is win/win for readers. The stories will be entertaining either way.