I discovered too late that I really knew so little about so many deceased friends and colleagues, and only found out about some of their remarkable exploits and achievements when reading their obituaries.
I walked to my mother's funeral on my own. There was no procession, no ride in a hearse; just a stroll from an empty hotel room to the crematorium, a functional brick outhouse circled by ornate grounds with small birds moving between the headstones.
Idalia's hearing had deteriorated over the years, but no matter: she and Clemente knew exactly what the other was thinking. They still lived in their house. She managed the bills. He did the driving. They understood the risks. On a piece of paper, duct-taped to the dash of his car, was a note about who to call in case of an emergency.
A huge newspaper headline is unmistakable: [NAME] IS DEAD AT 57. What is startling is the life ended at 57. The age of 90 makes complete sense for such an obituary. So does 78 or 87, maybe even 68. But not 57. Isn't that too young?
Unlike Nora Ephron, Maya Angelou and I have nothing in common. When I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, it did not offer me identification as Heartburn had, it offered me access -- vivid, scary, and profound access -- to a place I had never been before.
You eat from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Eating gives you life and sustains you. It brings you joy, zest, vitality, and builds relationships. It can also bring illness, sadness, chronic pain, isolation, and for some, a premature death. It all depends on your relationship with food.
We all die, right? Some of us do it the long way, chipping away at life slowly until there is nothing left; others check out abruptly with a sudden heart attack or accident. Some of us do it when we are old and others do it when we are younger. It's them -- those younger people -- that get under my skin.
We lost a great actor yesterday. Along with this loss there is much we can learn.
There was a time when the obituaries were the best read part of your daily newspaper. That was, of course, back in the days when you actually had a daily newspaper. But as news moved online and the people producing it skewed younger, writing about someone's death -- or more accurately someone's life at the time they died -- became less of an art form.
Live your life's story by writing it through the actions by which you want to be remembered.
Mavis Gallant died recently at the entirely respectable age of 91. On top of the lack of maternal love and affection, Gallant endured other unimaginable emotional assaults and upheavals, realities that underlie her fiction.
I confess to not knowing much about these remarkable women until reading about their deaths. Yet, as I perused the accounts of their lives, I couldn't help but notice one character trait that seemed to burn brightly in both of these individuals.
I salute you Sid Caesar and thank you for your contributions to widening, enlightening and enhancing the fabric of American society.
Obituaries and valentines: two words that one rarely sees side by side on the greeting card rack at the drugstore or on the list of options provided b...
Shirley Temple's career as a child actor enthralled our country at a time when economic tensions gripped most families when just about everyone could use a laugh. Shirley was, as they used to say, the real ticket. Fresh faced and dimpled with that sweet voice, she was adorable without being pretentious, as natural on screen as you could imagine her performing for the relatives in your living room. Radiating star power, she tap-danced her way into everyone's heart.
She didn't remember me but flashed a lovely smile that was her trademark. I wasn't offended, but grateful that I had been among the multitude of friends who were privileged to know her. Joan Mondale was a gracious and lovely person.