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?

I Got (another) New Job …

the news heraldIt’s time for this blog, because the phone calls, texts and emails have started.

“You haven’t posted many blogs lately. What’s going on?”

Well…a job change.

Perhaps a change in my career path? (Using ‘career’ loosely, of course!!) And it’s been a whirlwind. I wasn’t looking for a new job, it just happened.

My jobs sort of flip-flopped…

I used to blog for The News Herald and work in sales/marketing for Taylor Made Home Care.

Starting last week, I work for The News Herald and I’ll continue to blog and do special projects for Taylor Made.

I’ve been a blogger for The News Herald for about 3 years. This past year, I’ve been the Marketing Manager at Taylor Made Home Care, a job I loved because I helped people–and because its owner is a wonderful woman, who inspired me daily.

For me sales/marketing felt like ‘socializing.’ I continually met others who shared my passion for helping those in need of companion care, or senior services. I went into local medical centers, hospitals, senior centers. I attended meetings, discussions given by area providers of senior services; such as The Alzheimer’s Association and The Lake County Council on Aging. And my eyes were opened to an enormous web of people/organizations that are on hand to service our elderly community. Working at Taylor Made changed me, for the better. I’m aware of things that I would never have known about.

newspaperMy new job?

I’m working full-time in the Editorial Department at The News Herald. In the newsroom. Which is incredibly cool, because I’ve wanted to work at our local newspaper since I graduated college. Working at a newspaper has always been on my bucket list. When the opportunity seemingly fell from the sky, I was torn. However, if I’ve learning anything in the past several years, I’ve learned that we sometimes have to have faith, to follow the path in front of us, simply because it’s there and it feels right. Even if its difficult, or scary.

Luckily, Taylor Made is on Erie Street in the heart of downtown Willoughby–and about three minutes from my office at The News Herald. I can still  be a part of the business that I so enjoyed.

The strangest part of my new job? 

Being in a newsroom on the other side of a news story. As disaster struck in Boston yesterday, I saw it from another angle. From the inside in some ways.

What’s going to be challenging?

I’m known to break grammar rules–especially in this blog. Look what arrived on my desk? God help us all as I try to get a handle on writing rules and style used by The Associated Press.


(Stop laughing MB, Darling Daughter and the others who beg to edit my blogs for grammar…)

Some of the perks?

I now work in an environment where social media use is encouraged. And reading is part of my job. Oh happy day!! In fact, just outside my office door, The News Herald (and another newspaper) are sitting there when I arrive at work. Free!


 What exactly am I doing at The News Herald?

At the moment, I’m writing obituaries and will soon be doing the announcements–and from there, who knows?

Just another adventure. Because nothing in my life ever stays the same for more than 10 minutes.


 Want to reach me at The News Herald?

Email: alauria@news-herald.com