I had a rather unusual experience today. I was spreading out newspapers to carve our Halloween pumpkin and the spread was on the obituary page for about ten days ago. Along with the standard form listings, there were a number of display ads, placed as memorials to folks who have gone, sometimes a year or more ago. I was just struck by how much was really said, not only about the person who is gone, but those left behind who placed the ads.
Here was one:
In Memory of My Beloved Son
Jason Edward Alan Aldritt
Dec. 5, 1974-Oct. 19, 2003
Beloved son you were a kind, gentle, and generous young spirit, whose heart and soul had been shattered. Your world had become a place of torment and despair. Anger and fear had taken up residence in your mind and your heart was not strong enough to see the deception. You lost the battle against self-condemnation. You accepted everyone for who they were, even their darkside, but you couldn’t show or feel the same leniency towards your own shortcomings. You chose to live in silent desperation without anyone understanding the depth of your despair. Forgive us, and especially me, beloved son, for not giving you enough love and strength to overcome your demons. I continue to welcome our dream-time together and in quiet sorrow, impatiently wait for the time when my broken heart will be mended upon our meeting in Nirvana, when joy will once again reign.
With Much Love,
And then, telling a very different story:
RAYMOND A. TOWN, JR.
November 13, 1932 – October 19, 2001
SCENE: A stag party in 1955 at a Grange Hall, deep in remote Clackamas County. Someone at the poker table shouts, “RAID!”, and out the ladies restroom window we go. Whew, just made it!
NEXT DAY: Four inch headlines in Oregon Daily Journal Newspaper, “CLACKAMAS STAG PARTY RAIDED.” Drat, there we are on the front page … we forgot about the sign-in sheet at the door.
PENANCE: Twenty three years old and grounded by our parents.
Everlasting Memories, Bud.
I was just so struck … these are real people, with real stories. So much more real than what passes for “reality” programs on TV. I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a book in here, somewhere …