Monday, May 25, 2015

The Reports of My Death



When I started working for hospice, one of the Chaplains I worked with was exceptional in knowing what to say to families. Everyone who is approaching death should hear five sentences from the people they care about.


I love you. 
I know you love me.
I forgive you. 
Please forgive me.
Goodbye.


Six obituaries (the best bits anyway) written by people and their families who know a few things about living and about dying.




William Freddie McCullough 
September 11, 2013

The man. The myth. The legend. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him.

Freddie loved deep fried Southern food smothered in Cane Syrup, fishing at Santee Cooper Lake, Little Debbie Cakes, Two and a Half Men, beautiful women, Reeses Cups and Jim Beam. Not necessarily in that order.

He hated vegetables and hypocrites. Not necessarily in that order.

He was . . . great at growing fruit trees, grilling chicken and ribs, popping wheelies on his Harley at 50 mph, making everyone feel appreciated and hitting Coke bottles at thirty yards with his 45.

You could be sure 50% of every story was true. You just never knew which 50%.

Freddie was killed when he rushed into a burning orphanage to save a group of adorable children. Or maybe not. We all know how he liked to tell stories.


Harry Weathersby Stamps
March 9, 2013.

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler.

Harry was locally sourcing his food years before chefs in California starting using cilantro and arugula (both of which he hated). For his signature bacon and tomato sandwich, he procured 100% all white Bunny Bread from Georgia, Blue Plate mayonnaise from New Orleans, Sauer's black pepper from Virginia, home grown tomatoes from outside Oxford, and Tennessee's Benton bacon from his bacon-of-the-month subscription.

He taught (his two girls) to fish, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their tool boxes. One of his regrets was not seeing his girl, Hillary Clinton, elected President.

He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking, eradicating mole crickets from his front yard, composting pine needles, living within his means, outsmarting squirrels, never losing a game of competitive sickness, and reading any history book he could get his hands on.

He was fond of saying a phrase he coined "I am not running for political office or trying to get married" when he was "speaking the truth."

Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam's on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass-stained MSU baseball cap.

He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words "veranda" and "porte cochere" to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil's Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.

Because of his irrational fear that his family would throw him a golf-themed funeral despite his hatred for the sport, his family will hold a private, family only service free of any type of "theme." 

Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord's Time. 


Jane Catherine Lotter

July 18, 2013

One of the few advantages of dying from Grade 3, Stage IIIC endometrial cancer, recurrent and metastasized to the liver and abdomen, is that you have time to write your own obituary. (The other advantages are no longer bothering with sunscreen and no longer worrying about your cholesterol.) 

I would demonstrate my keen sense of humor by telling a few jokes here, but the Times charges for these listings by the column inch and we must move on.

I met Bob Marts at the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square on November 22, 1975, which was the luckiest night of my life.

I believe we are each of us connected to every person and everything on this Earth, that we are in fact one divine organism having an infinite spiritual existence. Of course, we may not always comprehend that. And really, that's a discussion for another time. So let's cut to the chase:

At any rate, I am at peace. And on that upbeat note, I take my mortal leave of this rollicking, revolving world-this sun, that moon, that walk around Green Lake, that stroll through the Pike Place Market, the memory of a child's hand in mine.

Beautiful day, happy to have been here.

XOXO, Jane/Mom

Walter George Bruhl, Jr. 
Sunday, March 9, 2014

Walter George Bruhl Jr. of Newark and Dewey Beach is a dead person; he is no more; he is bereft of life; he is deceased; he has rung down the curtain and gone to join the choir invisible; he has expired and gone to meet his maker.
He was surrounded by his loving wife of 57 years, Helene Sellers Bruhl, who will now be able to purchase the mink coat which he had always refused her because he believed only minks should wear mink.

Walt was preceded in death by his tonsils and adenoids in 1935; a spinal disc in 1974; a large piece of his thyroid gland in 1988; and his prostate on March 27, 2000.

There will be no viewing since his wife refuses to honor his request to have him standing in the corner of the room with a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand so he would appear natural to visitors.

Cremation will take place at the family's convenience, and his ashes will be kept in an urn until they get tired of having it around. What’s a Grecian Urn? Oh, about 200 drachmas a week.
Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.

Antonia W. "Toni" Larroux
April 30, 2013

Waffle House lost a loyal customer. 

Due to multiple, anonymous Mother's Day cards which arrived each May, the children suspect there were other siblings but that has never been verified.

Toni previously served on the board of the Hancock County Library Foundation. Ironically, the only correspondence she has received from the library since her resignation has been overdue notices for several overdue books (a true statement.) Between ICU, dialysis and physical therapy she selfishly refused to make the time to return them. Her last words were, "tell them that the check is in the mail…" Toni retired from GE Plastics after Hurricane Katrina in 2007. She would undoubtedly cherish the thought of having the former smoking room named in her honor.

Her favorite activity was sipping hot tea on her back porch with friends seated around her porch ensemble from Dollar General (again, not kidding.) This will be sold to the highest bidder at her garage 'estate' sale. Any gifts in her honor should be made to the Hancock County Library Foundation (to the overdue book fund.)

Her memorial service will begin at 11:00 a.m. (another true statement.) It will be led by Rev. Curt Moore of Orlando, Florida, a questionable choice for any spiritual event, but one the family felt would be appropriate due to the fact that every time Toni heard Curt preach she prayed for Jesus to return at that very moment.

She will be missed as a mother, friend and grandmother. Anyone wearing black will not be admitted to the memorial. 


Mary Agnes Mullaney

September 1, 2013

If you're about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop. Consider: Mary Agnes Mullaney (you probably knew her as "Pink") 

We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years, among them: Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones to tie gutters, child-proof cabinets, tie toilet flappers, or hang Christmas ornaments.

Also: If a possum takes up residence in your shed, grab a barbecue brush to coax him out. If he doesn't leave, brush him for twenty minutes and let him stay.

Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Cry at the consecration, every time. Give the chicken sandwich to your homeless friend after mass.

Go to a nursing home and kiss everyone. When you learn someone's name, share their patron saint's story, and their feast day, so they can celebrate. Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. If they are from another country and you have trouble understanding them, learn to "listen with an accent."

Never say mean things about anybody.

Put picky-eating children in the box at the bottom of the laundry chute, tell them they are hungry lions in a cage, and feed them veggies through the slats.

Correspond with the imprisoned and have lunch with the cognitively challenged.
Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio.
Give to every charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online.

Allow the homeless to keep warm in your car while you are at Mass.

Take magazines you've already read to your doctors' office for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label, "Because if someone wants to contact me, that would be nice."

In her lifetime, Pink made contact time after time. Those who've taken her lessons to heart will continue to ensure that a cold drink will be left for the overheated garbage collector and mail carrier, every baby will be kissed, every nursing home resident will be visited, the hungry will have a sandwich, the guest will have a warm bed and soft nightlight, and the encroaching possum will know the soothing sensation of a barbecue brush upon its back.

Pink is reunited with her husband and favorite dance and political debate partner, Dr. Gerald L. Mullaney.

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