Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Dance me to the end of life

At the risk of sounding morbid, I must confess that one of my daily cyber-stops (along with news sites, family history blogs, Facebook, and my habitual stalking of David Tennant) is the obituary page at the Victoria Times-Colonist. Why? Victoria is a relatively small town and I lived there a long time. It shields me with fore-knowledge, so that during my annual retreat to visit Demeter, I won't blunder into a friend's grief in my ignorance, and might, in fact, get an appropriate note into the mail.

It's not scintillating reading; obituaries are not a hot-bed of original thought nor good writing. They're mini-biographies written by grieving people, so we usually hear that the deceased "fought a courageous battle" with whatever disease carried them off, that they lived with "the love of his/her life", or adored their children. Often they were a friend to everyone. Well, it isn't the time to argue, is it?

Today, though, I was brought up short by an obituary. The first thing that caught me was the picture, a tiny black-and-white snap of a lady dancing on one foot, waving an open umbrella. (Not the photo below, obviously.) You can't really make out her features. She could be middle-aged, or a little older. However, the picture radiates joy and celebration. So does the text which begins with little in the way of punctuation: "Thank you Thank you Thank you . . . .", then launches into a litany of gratitude for her family, for being born when she was, for things like stars and trees, friends and music, for her caregivers who "were born kind".
As exits go, this one was classy. She was no one I knew, but frankly, I'm a bit sorry she wasn't.


Kathy said...

I visit the obituaries every day too if for no other reason than to make sure I am not listed but mostly to see if anyone I know is.


JoeinVegas said...

Ah, to go happy, thinking of dancing in the sunshine.

Rob said...