more on grief

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I looked at obituaries today, to get models for what I should write for my granddad. No one ever says "dies," have you noticed that? It's always "passed away." I hate "passed away." It's quite possibly the weirdest and least specific term ever and it bugs me. Also, it sounds too much like "passed off," as though your loved one is being shoved off on someone else. Yuck.


shadocat said...

Around here people just say "passed", which always sounds weird to me.

Years ago, I was a secretary at a nearby hospital. When someone died, you could never, ever, ever say the "D" word, passed, passed away, etc. You had to say "expired". I always hated that. Like your warranty was up or something...

Maggie Jochild said...

It's the Christian dominance, i.e., they've only passed from one existence to another.

I like "gone" myself.

Or there's the Monty Python version:
"This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed him to the perch he'd be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!"

But then I've always used humor to deal with what feels unbearable.

I also often listen to the Si Kahn song (the entire set of lyrics are here):
I remember the year that my granddaddy died
Gone, gonna rise again
They dug his grave on the mountainside
Gone, gonna rise again
I was too young to understand
The way he felt about the land
But I could read his history in his hand
Gone, gonna rise again

High on the ridge above the farm
I think of my people that have gone on
Like a tree that grows in the mountain ground
The storms of life have cut them down
But the new wood springs from roots in the ground

kat said...

Thanks Maggie.

I used to be able to recite the whole parrot sketch from memory. Of course, that was because my theater friends in high school would act it out constantly.

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