Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I admit I read obituaries. I have been reading them for years. I don't hope to see friends listed, but I admit I hope to see people there I don't like. Sometimes, I do. It means I don't have to try and avoid someone. He or she is no longer around to make my life miserable. Of course, they don't make my life unhappy; I let them. Still, it is nice not to worry whether or not someone is going to be around or not.

There used to be a guy at a bookstore I went to who would stalk me and even follow me. Since I was not living alone I did not worry. Still, it bothered me sitting in the cafe in the bookstore and his staring at me. I would sit in the corner and take my radio and ear phones. At first, I thought he was looking for a chance for some face time, so I started a conversation. Not so, he was mean and bitter. He did the same act with many people and I saw many women who would sit not far from him and wonder what he was up to. He even did it with men. Then I saw his name in the obituaries. I could have sang all day.

Of course, there are times when friends' names show up. That is sad. No wonder they did not pick up their phones or call. Sometimes it was unexpected and sometimes they had gone into a convalescent home without telling anyone. All of us who were friends were left wondering what happened to them. Then the orbit announcing their death appeared. That was sad.

I am getting older and we leave estates and relatives sometimes have funerals and sometimes to save money don't have them.The relatives who often don't have funerals are general those who were not close. They leave those little naked announcements that cost nothing and one never knows for sure if it is them or not. One woman who works the phones at a funeral home says she often gets calls from people who ask if the newly deceased worked at this place or lived at a certain street or came from a certain state.

A friend of mine says he reads the death notices to see if he died. That is a joke but I actually know someone who was declared dead and he was very much alive. He had a devil of a time getting his Social Security checks going and even lost his car which he had to sell to pay some bills during the process. He had a common name and someone else with the same name had died in the same city as he did. You would think the Social Security Administration would check their Social Security numbers. I understand this is not an uncommon problem.

Last year I was in Korea and left my house in my younger adult son's hands and the contents got stripped by my ex-husband and another son. I was shocked when I got back. I told my adult children that I did not die but was gone only one year and left money to pay the house payments and taxes. I lived on the money I made in Korea. My son paid the utilities. So much was missing that I could not live there anymore and just left since my son said he would pay the house payments. I am glad. I did not feel safe there anymore. I am much happier here even if I don't know the outcome of my current health issues, I would rather face them here than in Redding which seems a darker place there anyhow.

I look at the dates of the beginnings of people's lives in those notices and see most of them creeping up towards my own. Of course, plenty of people die early. Children die and others who are younger than me die for a variety of reasons; but now I don't fear the idea of death as much as I used to although I would rather not die at this time. When I used to visit older relatives I would often run into people who would wish for death in the homes my relatives were in. I am hoping that when it is time for me to go I would be wanting it, desire it and wishing for it so that when the Grim Reaper comes it would be a welcomed guest instead of a dreaded presence. Who knows? Most of us don't know the end. I happen to believe we all were dead before so it shouldn't be such a big deal to be dead again.

Now, back to the obituaries. I will never read my own unless it is a big mistake as what happened to Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway when their deaths were prematurely announced. They had to make announcements to the press that they were very much alive. I would hate to go to the Social Security Administration and try and get my checks started again. I would think that would be a lot harder than a press release.

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