Posted by: penpatience | March 3, 2014


SI Exif

FREE READ –My fiction short story, “The Disappearance of Harry Swiftwater,” was published in the February 21, 2014 weekly edition of Page & Spine Fiction Showcase at:

Writers Words:“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow.”

~Lawrence Clark Powell

                                             MARCH 2014 MONTHLY MUSING


      Birth and Death—two different events each human being will experience in their lifetime. Birth– the beginning of life, the joyous, celebratory occasion; death–the inevitable, complicated ending.

     Faith-based ideologies aside, the overwhelming reaction to death is a sense of loss—a friend, loved-one, colleague is permanently, irretrievably gone. Survivors are often left with a treasure trove of variable memories along with responsibilities to arrange the proper send-off for the deceased.

     Today there are many options for that final goodbye, a goodbye that many folks going about their daily lives choose to ignore, sweeping mortality concerns under the rug like accumulated cracker crumbs and dust-bunnies left too long under the furniture. Face it! No one wants to think about death, especially their own demise. However, if you don’t who will? Someone else will have to do it.

      Shouldn’t this special and final adieu be written by the person who knew you best? You! Perhaps your wish is to simply state, “Mary Jane Doe died on (mo./day/year).”  You choose not to pass away, join Uncle Humphrey in heaven, go home to the Lord, or cheat the devil. Maybe you’ve always had an eccentric sense of humor and like your favorite entertainer, Elvis Presley, and announce that “Mary Jane Doe has left the building.”  Possibly you prefer not to include a laundry list of accomplishments or extensive roster of past or irrelevant activities. These preferences may be ignored by a harried, distraught relative, who fumbling through your stuffed desk drawers, locates an old resume just in time to meet the newspaper publishing deadline.

     Keep in mind this is your opportunity to communicate what you want others to know about your life. Although writing an obituary is technically a death notice and information on extended family members, it could become your beginning effort in writing a future memoir or life story. A memoir, historical or funny, written in your own voice and point of view might become a treasured gift  that will be cherished, remembered and passed down through family members for generations.

     No, I haven yet begun writing my obituary, but I have jotted down preliminary  directions and researched  sites ( and that have provided guidelines and information for individuals that desire to make this special contribution to family and friends.  If you’re a writer, this might be an opportunity to learn to write obituaries, or write your first memoir. I feel readers would love to read about a loved one’s life in their own words.

     One item I may or may not include in my self-written farewell is my chronological age. Although I’m grateful for the longevity of years I’ve achieved to date, I’ve always felt that age is just a number.  That inclusion is still undecided….


  1. This is an interesting essay. Since I’m an organist and play at a lot of funerals, I’m always interested in what family members say about the deceased. These are only impressions, I feel. Perhaps only the deceased knows (knew) the true self. Then again, we still-living folks are good at self-deception, too.
    Here’s a good place to tell you again, Frances, how much I enjoyed your “The Disappearance of Harry…” You received a lot of comments at P & S. Good for you!


  2. Thank you Carol. I’m always glad to receive comments on my work.
    Best wishes,


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