obituary, editorial, and tribute (poco)

Death of a loved one is like genocide on a smaller scale.  When my late son, David, died I remember feelings of desperation as if I were being erased.  David was a large part of my legacy, and with his death I would leave less of a mark on this world, and with it came the sense I was being erased.  The Holocaust was a systematic large-scale attempt to erase the Jews.  In my times of desperation I clung to pieces that assured me I still had a place and I was not being erased.  I remember reading through several online guest books including the funeral home and legacy.com, and econtacting each person who comment on the death of my late son, and asking if I could call, and I will be forever grateful to those who accepted, but I do not remember a name or any details of the conversations.  In a sense those guest books were a testimony to my son’s status, and there were many personal offerings of his importance, but my desperation had me feeling my connection to his status was being erased, but the generous and kind guest-book people who allowed my call gave me moments of glory.  My late son, David, was buried with honor, and I held status as his father that would not be erased, even though moments of desperation left me feeling it would be.  What gave me foundation to pull upon would have been absent if I or my late son would have been a victim of genocide.  I would have had to look further, and my search would have become more desperate and . . . and . . . Sometimes obituaries read like resumes.  I remember reading my dad’s, Bill Doody’s, obituary, and it seemed like what he was to a church full of people was somehow understated, and his career in sales, and education in Ohio was overstated, but I think differently now.  I think I would like to read it again.  The words in an obituary carefully describe status, and with women and homemakers it can be tricky.  For example, Helen Forhan and Mary Lou Twohey who were matriarchs and monsters of status among those privileged to know them were short on the traditional resume material, but the words were carefully chosen, and gave me enough to feel their status as they reached each final resting place.  As a product of marriages that end with something other than death, “formers” are not listed in obituaries, but at this moment I wish they were.  George D. Graham was the former father-in-law to my sister, and her status did not make the obituary, nor would anyone expect it to.  If my former father-in-law, Leo, and I take the expected order of death, then I could imagine my status as a “former” in his obituary, and even more fitting would be my status as a “former” in his wife’s.  My status in their lives cannot be erased (short of genocide), and my late son, David, and my surviving son and daughter are proof of my status in my late father’s-in-law life.  This concept is not so crazy.  My Uncle Tom had a Catholic burial, and I don’t think he was very Catholic in his final years, but the Catholic church erased the estranged period and recognized his status as a Catholic, and my status  . . . . I am not serious that I should be in a obituary as a former, because tradition served me well in the recovery from the death of my late son, David, but it is an interesting point that was validated in a more practical way this week.  I went searching for information on Dan’s and Brogan’s grandfather, and Nelson’s dad, and I came upon my sister’s press of her art show in Colorado.  Again, this is a product of my sister no longer holding status worthy of an obituary, but it shows that relationship was not erased.  George B. Graham will be memorialized this Saturday in Florida, and this week I am feeling the loss in a personal way.  I knew him personally, and I know of his importance to others I care for deeply.  I also know his voice from a Christmas album Nelson produced, which I am determined to find and hear this week, maybe Saturday.  His obituary testifies to his status, and the many ebook words offered about him speak to his important well beyond what could be written in an obituary.  I feel the loss of Mr. Graham this week, and I feel fortunate his legacy is present in my life.

 

About Tom Doody

middle-age American living in New Jersey near the Lincoln Tunnel
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