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Obit discretion?


Charlie
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Yesterday's New York Times carried a very long obituary for an old friend of mine, a respected British writer whose frequent subject was his own youth and his distinguished family's history. It ended with a simple statement that he never married and there were no survivors--not a hint anywhere that he was gay or that he had lived for years with his late partner as a couple. It was a complete contrast with an obituary last week for yet another friend of mine, which spoke about his association with gay organizations and named two of his deceased "life partners."

 

When your obituary is written, how frank would you want it to be about your sexual orientation and/or relationships?

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Sexual orientation, as with "cause of death" have no place in an obituary write-up as they are "private matters" not for public consumption. In my opinion, of course. . .

 

I respectfully disagree. Most obituaries for heterosexual people clearly state something like: "He/She is survived by __________ who was his wife/husband/life partner for _______ years." If a mention of a wife, husband or life partner doesn't allude clearly to sexual orientation and the very private matter of romantic life, then I don't know what would.

 

Also, cause of death is more often than not mentioned. The only two instances that I can think of in which cause of death is unmentioned is when it was because of complications of AIDS or suicide. Most other causes of death are more often than not indelicately detailed.

 

Personally I think that if the deceased was out, the family should make sure his life is reflected in his obituary. Sadly, it is often the case that death is seen by families as a the only way to push their "loved ones" back into the closet. If I had a family like that, I would make sure to write my obituary beforehand and put it in good hands.

 

I am sorry about your loss, Charlie.

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From the opus of Tom Lehrer:

 

You need to read this( which is the introduction to the song) to really get what its about:

Last December 13th, there appeared in the newspapers the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary that has ever been my pleasure to read. It was that of a lady name Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel who had, in her lifetime, managed to acquire as lovers practically all of the top creative men in central Europe, and, among these lovers, who were listed in the obituary, by the way, which was what made it so interesting, there were three whom she went so far as to marry.

 

One of the leading composers of the day: Gustav Mahler, composer of Das Lied von der Erde and other light classics. One of the leading architects: Walter Gropius of the Bauhaus school of design. And one of the leading writers: Franz Werfel, author of the song of Bernadette and other masterpieces. It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age he had been dead for two years. It seemed to me, I'm reading this obituary, that the story of Alma was the stuff of which ballads should be made so here is one.

 

[video=youtube;hH4J8CIBc7Q]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH4J8CIBc7Q

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Also, cause of death is more often than not mentioned. The only two instances that I can think of in which cause of death is unmentioned is when it was because of complications of AIDS or suicide. Most other causes of death are more often than not indelicately detailed.

 

I've had several family friends, especially those over 70, whose obituaries simply stated, "died peacefully at home" without mentioning an illness. Just last month, the mother of a friend died of lung cancer, but the obit made no reference to the disease. When asked why, my friend responded, "the friends and family close to us all knew Mom had decided six months ago not to have any further treatment. Those that don't know, it isn't any of their business."

 

I've also had the misfortune of knowing a husband and wife who were murdered. Although the fact that they were murdered was all over the local news, the obituary itself did not mention a cause of death.

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Also, cause of death is more often than not mentioned. The only two instances that I can think of in which cause of death is unmentioned is when it was because of complications of AIDS or suicide. Most other causes of death are more often than not indelicately detailed.

 

Your mileage may vary.

 

It actually depends on who writes the obit. For a celebrity, every major news organization has an obituary on file written by a staff writer that can be dragged out on sudden notice. For the average Joe, it falls to the family. I've done it twice, unfortunately. In both cases, my sister and I chose to omit the cause of death because that wasn't the point, but we did request donations to related cancer charities in lieu of flowers. Readers can read between the lines.

 

The only rule here is that there is no rule.

 

Funerals are held for the living. Obituaries honor the deceased.

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In writing my wife's obituary, I spoke of her life and her character. Her terminal illness and eventual death, while handled by her in a way that left me in awe of her strength and courage, only exemplified her best qualities in living set against an inevitable end. The illness nor her death from it, were not mentioned in the obituary. i focused more on her passions, triumphs and humanity.

 

When I speak to someone about my wife, I am frequently disappointed that it is almost always the case that I am asked about her death and asked rarely about her life. When speaking to someone who mentions a loved one's passing, I make it a point to ask only about the life and never about the death. It is not that I believe it rude or disrespectful, it is rather that I find that someone's death is frequently the least interesting and most readily given detail about a deceased.

 

It is after all, how a person lived that speaks most eloquently of a spirit sadly gone. I encourage that voice rather than the melancholy voice of bereavement.

 

 

I would hope that my obituary would be written lovingly, artistically and that it would accurately reflect the man. Toward that end, I may need to write it myself.

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I intend to write my own obituary. In fact my plans are all pre-arranged including the plot, the service and the marker. When it's time for me to be dispatched all any member of my extended family will have to do is open the "Final Plans" envelope and make two phone calls. Funds are included for hiring a Second Line band for the send off as well.

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I intend to write my own obituary. In fact my plans are all pre-arranged including the plot, the service and the marker. When it's time for me to be dispatched all any member of my extended family will have to do is open the "Final Plans" envelope and make two phone calls. Funds are included for hiring a Second Line band for the send off as well.

I have already written my obituary and given copies to two relatives who will be in charge of my "end of life" arrangements. If they do not honour my wishes, so be it, but I have been assured they will. No mention of cause of death, obviously, and no mention of my sexual orientation. Since I have never been married, those reading the obituary can speculate all they want, which they would do anyway. When I read obituaries of friends and relatives I am interested in what I believe the deceased wanted included---and sometimes beloved pets are mentioned and that is fine with me.

On a tangent: one of the most well-written and entertaining(yes I meant that word) obituaries I have read recently was published in The Economist and it was Joan Rivers'---I suspectit can be found if anyone is interested.

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On a tangent: one of the most well-written and entertaining(yes I meant that word) obituaries I have read recently was published in The Economist and it was Joan Rivers'---I suspect it can be found if anyone is interested.

 

Obituary

Joan Rivers

 

Joan Rivers, America’s most abrasive comedienne, died on September 4th, aged 81

 

http://cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-width/20140913_OBP001.jpg

 

 

HER first thought was, did she look good? Could ashes look good? Well, try hers: they had bits of a Valentino gown in them, and enough diamonds to make a giant sparkling ring to sit on the finger she would give to anyone weeping over her, if they could find a finger.

 

She cut a better figure than Death anyway, because Death looked shit. To reprise her red-carpet question from “Fashion Police”, who was he wearing? Black was slimming, but this was ridiculous. And as for accessorising, that scythe was just a giant version of something her gynaecologist, Dr Schwartz, showed her once when she told him her vagina was about to fall on the floor.

 

 

Thank God that old body had gone. Never pretty enough. It contained so much plastic she’d been going to donate it to Tupperware, and so many nips, tucks, fillers, brow-lifts and chin jobs that she was sometimes afraid she’d have to eat through her ears. Good riddance to saggy boobs and varicose-veiny legs so red, white and blue that she could wave them on the Fourth of July. Goodbye to dampness and maxiDepends! Hello freedom!

 

But sudden panic—where the fuck was her purse? Had they burned that too? She needed it! Funerals were where she met new men. (Never mind that it was her own.) She kept a tampon in her bag to impress them, because men liked women to have periods. It showed they were up for it. If the idiots didn’t spot it, she would swing it around. “Joan,” Johnny Carson said to her once—her greatest friend and mentor until, in 1986, she left NBC’s “The Tonight Show” for Fox and got her own show that exactly clashed with his—“don’t men like you for your mind?” It was true she had a degree and read history books and liked T.S. Eliot, but as she told him then, “No man ever put his hand up a woman’s dress looking for her library card.”

 

Death looked as if he might not be impressed with the tampon.

 

Her purse also had money in it, though. Her greatest fear was not to have it. It came from her Russian-Jewish parents, an immigrant thing, that one day you might lose everything again and end up not being hired even to sell hats in Macy’s. Her mother hoped she would marry a lawyer—a doctor—then any rich schmuck who could find the doorbell—but she wanted to be a performer, so had to work like crazy to prove there was a living in it.

 

She would do anything for money; just ask. Have sex with a centenarian? Fine. She might even move! Constipation commercial? Bring it on—she’d got all day. Write scripts for Hitler, why not? She’d written scripts for Topo Gigio in her lean years, and he was a fucking puppet mouse. In her 20s she’d played every Mafia-owned club in Greenwich Village and Chicago, and in her 70s she was still touring the heartland and doing the TV reality shows, the variety shows, the web shows (“In Bed With Joan”). She ran her own business through the shopping channel QVC, selling gorgeous clothes and jewellery and making millions of dollars. She wrote seven books, though none did as well as Anne Frank’s, which didn’t even have a proper ending.

 

“Oh Joan,” her friends would say, “you have $290m, why don’t you retire? You could live OK.” What? Did “OK” get you a red-and-gold penthouse just off Central Park, with its own ballroom and butler and Pingpong, the live-in Filipina maid? Grow up! In any case she loved her work, and always had. Making people happy with a cheque at the end was the perfect life, and she would never, never stop until the voice gave out. She’d just been having her vocal cords done when fucking Death barged in.

 

So was this hell, then? Her second husband Edgar, who’d killed himself in 1987 when her career was briefly in the toilet, wasn’t there—but then she remembered she’d had his ashes scattered round Neiman Marcus, so she could visit him five times a week. Sharon Stone, George Michael and Bill Clinton weren’t there, and nor was Oprah’s ass, which could be seen from space, though any decent hell would surely have them in it. It would also have everyone else she had offended: the handicapped, the blind, small children, old men with their balls on the ground, ugly Mexicans, Haitians, Russians and Croatians, and uptight Jews who didn’t like a Jewish woman talking about ovens. In fact anyone she hadn’t pissed off, raise a hand now.

 

What line?

Her sad-ass critics said she kept crossing the line, and all the more as she got older. She’d say, What line? She’d made a career out of loudly mentioning really unmentionable things—right from the 1960s, when you couldn’t say “abortion” on TV, especially if you were female, and so she said “She had 14 appendectomies.” No one else dared even squeak about these things. But by talking about them you could take control and laugh at life, even when it truly hurt. “Lighten the fuck up!” she would shout to her audiences. “These are jokes.”

 

Heaven, then. Was this heaven? Perhaps not to anyone with a house in the Hamptons. But the lighting was good, with a fabulous chorus of winged gay men. And she felt alive, so alive! Bring on music! Welcome people, welcome! Welcome even that old dude in the Walmart bathrobe with Cialis in the pocket—who should also iron his face, like Mick Jagger.

 

God, can we talk?

 

source: http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21616858-joan-rivers-americas-most-abrasive-comedienne-died-september-4th-aged-81-joan-rivers

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Holy Shit ! BVB, you want the WHOLE FUCKING LIST of WHO you are FUCKING to to be published in your obit???:cool:

 

You do realize your heirs will be paying by the inch?

 

Of course. I come from good jeans, or genes, which ever the case may be, and if I'm in my 90's when the good Lord comes callin, who's gonna be left to hear, or even be able to hear someone reading about all the little slutty boys back at the nursing home. I rather suspect my heirs won't give a rats ass. ;)

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"The rest is silence" reads my obit. . .brevity, at last.

 

Funny! http://www.boytoy.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/default/thumbsup.png You can't go wrong with a little Hamlet.

But somehow I always pictured you more as King Leer. http://www.adhs-anderswelt.de/Smileys/default/lechzen.gif

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