This just in from the WWM News Bureau: You are going to die.
Sorry to be so direct, but one of the unavoidable side effects of living is dying. It’s one of those life experiences that we all share, regardless of our ethnicity, social standing or overall lifestyle. But we differ greatly in how we prepare for the ultimate reckoning.
That is why there are so many euphemisms for death and dying. Many of us see it as a transition from the material world to a spiritual one. Thus phrases such as “crossing over” and “passing on.” Religious people might prefer “called home by the Lord” or “soaring with the angels.” The poetic among us may opt for something like those words penned by William Shakespeare in Macbeth, “out, out, brief candle.”
There are plenty of euphemisms available and, in this era of paid obituaries, you’ve probably seen plenty in your local newspaper. In my days as a newspaper reporter, there was just one way to refer to a person’s demise: “John Doe died.” There was no dying suddenly, either. As a journalism professor noted: “All deaths are sudden. You’re alive one minute and dead the next.” And you’ll never find a newspaper person writing about how a dead person has entered heaven since that’s a non-verifiable piece of information.
While living, we have the opportunity to make our preferences known. Chances are good that payment for your own obituary will come out of your estate. Shouldn’t the words come from you as well?
Photo courtesy of The Library of Congress.