Choices: The Last Breath of Our Stories

This Month we explore CHOICES:

I admit it. I look at the obits.

At first I was looking for interesting names for characters in my stories. Of course, the headliner in the paper lists formal monikers like: Willoughby or Fitzhugh, but when I mined the copy, I discovered golden nicknames like; Bezy or Jop. Those two names sound like a couple who fight about how to hang toilet paper, and give their cell phones to the needy.

Then I got hooked by the stories of people’s lives. It made me wonder:

  • Did that degree from Princeton make a difference in the job they had by life’s end?
  • How could a woman survive 3 husbands?
  • Her pet was cremated with her?

If there’s a photo, I try to see the untold story in the lines and smiles of their faces. Written by family members, obits often unwittingly contain clues like: All her children, except Bill and his wife, were there as Mimi took her last breath.

Boy Bill, are you and the missus in trouble.

The obits remind me of choices. We fret about whether to go to college. What job to take. Who to marry—or not. How many—if any—kids to have. Travel? Learn a language?

All ponderous choices, and the end result is the same. One day we’ll find ourselves in the obits. To make decisions I used to apply the adage: Will it matter in 5 years. Now, I ask myself: How will it look in the obits? Usually the choice isn’t even important enough to be mentioned in a 300 word life summary—which kind of puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?

So go ahead—make choices like sharing your final resting place with your deceased pet, but if you’re Bill and Mrs. Bill, don’t expect the rest of the family to choose come to your funeral.


About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in A Laugh, Choices, Life, Smiles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Choices: The Last Breath of Our Stories

  1. Pingback: Do Choices Create Hope? « Before Morning Breaks

  2. Barb says:

    Roxie, great point. As a matter of fact, it was so great, I’m going to experiment with it next week.

    Les, you’re making a lot of choices right now, as you go through unemployment. I’m going with Roxie’s attitude. The things you do right now may seem small, but they matter to someone. I’m rootin’ for you.

    Sharon, buying yarn is a matter of choice, yes? So whatever you have in your stash is pleasing to you, so how could it be wrong. Maybe when you’re 110, you’ll choose to stop buying it.

    Lisa, you have the choice to write your obit right now. That way your hubby won’t have to do it. Use lots of adjectives.


  3. Lisa Nowak says:

    I’m hoping someone from Chrysalis will write my obit. If it’s up to my husband, he’ll probably put it off until I’ve been dead for three years. 😉


  4. digipicsphotography says:

    I’m hoping my obit’s a long way off. I have way too much yarn for that anytime soon. So maybe when I’m 110+?!?!


  5. Les O'Riley says:

    Greetings, Barb ~

    This is Les from OkieLand checking in. Well, the job I was really hoping for, that I went on two interviews for, (Business Analyst for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center) went to someone else. Rats! But I’ll keep pluggin’. I just turned a resume into SOSU for an Academic Advisor position. I’m qualified for these jobs I’m applying for, but I think I’m falling victim to the between-50-and-55-don’t-hire scenario.

    But as long as you’re reading my posts, and not my obit, there’s still hope! I’m back to working out at the Choctaw Wellness Center on the elliptical trainer, and I just took a nice, though chilly, 45 minute nose-dripping walk through the neighborhood. I survived the area’s roaming dogs and lived to tell about it.

    Being unemployed does have it’s perks, (though I’m WAY sick of not having a job!) I got to spend 3 weeks with my daughter when she came home to visit from Cali. That was wonderful! 3 weeks! That’s a first since she moved out there at 18. Now she’s 30. My how time flies.

    Keep me in your prayers for a job. I’m either going to find one, or you’ll be reading that short you-know-what notice in the newspaper. But until one or the other, I’m not giving up.

    What’s new with you and your hubby? Drop me a private E and let me know. Any exciting news?

    Take care, your friend in Oklahoma ~ Les

    I’ll catch up on your posts soon.

    Les O’Riley


  6. Roxie says:

    And yet the tiniest choices, repeated often, make a difference in the whole life. If we consistently choose “Damn, it’s a nuisance, but she needs a ride and I live closest to her.” we become the sort of person who has fourhundred people at the funeral and a half-page spread in the Oregonian. If we consistently choose “I’m busy and she needs to figure her own way to get around.” we become a person who has a two inch column and immediate friends and family, (and Bill and the Mrs. won’t be there.)

    You choose exercise, and you are fit and trim. I choose sloth and I am fat and flabby. You can WRITE my obit!


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