Remembering the departed!

I was surfing channels on TV and had glimpse of a girl featured in Oprah's channel. She was on 'Oprah' talk show because she had written her own Obituary. A little odd, especially as she looked quite healthy. Any way I got distracted either by Leela or Rhea and missed watching it.

Also I had recently seen in the Vancouver Sun (at the hair cutting saloon!) pages titled 'Remembering' devoted to obituaries. The inserts were well written and with feeling about the people who had departed. A really a nice way to remember the departed.

Actually, I was prompted to write this blog while reading the 'remembering' pages again yesterday. They give us a very good view of the society here in Vancouver. While brief but poignant some of these biographies were even witty. Most of the departed were in their nineties and eighties, world war II veterans, men and women in various walks of life, in different social status and who had contributed to the society in their own individual ways. Many were immigrants from the old world as well from other parts of Canada. There were a few obituaries with pictures of the departed as an young person in addition to the recent ones . A nice way to show how gracefully they had aged with time!

Some inserts also inform us about a memorial service and 'celebration of life of the departed' that are arranged. They also include sincere thank you notes to those who had helped. Mostly flowers are declined with a suggestion that donations are made in the name of the deceased. While many had passed on peacefully, the type of donations suggested showed that some had gone through problems of health. Alzheimer's, heart problems and cancer had taken their toll. As one would expect, there were those who departed young, sadly to cancer or accidents or reasons unknown to us. Sad to read about an young man of 20 in these pages and about a nice looking young man in his thirties, who was a 'gentle person with no enemies but himself '.

It did bring me back memories of those who had departed from my life. It also reminded me of the recent email Sriram had forwarded me. It was written by his uncle and my good friend Prasan on 'fathers day' and it started with a lovely piece about his father who would have passed away quite a while ago. Wonderful to see nice sentiments (Pithru Devo Bhava) expressed after so many years.

It also reminded me about what, during our Vedanta classes, Jayshree our neighbour in Bangkok had said. When we asked her to comment about the lessons she had learnt from Vedanta, she said that while she understood more about our situation as human beings after attending the classes, she still could not deal with the fact that she was not there with her father when he passed away recently. She echoed, what I term the NRI's lament, our indescribable feelings about not being near our dear ones at the time of their passing away. I know time is a healer, but such wounds run deep.

Anyway, I was curious to see what this 30 year old had to say about her own 'obituary'. This is what she had to say. ' I pretended I was an 80-year-old woman looking back at my life, and I didn't want to have any regrets. So being older, looking back, what would I change?'
Interesting approach, you may like to read more about Jennifer. Here is the link: 'http://www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200701/20070125/slide_20070125_284_112.jhtml

Then, as you may surely guess, I wondered what I would write if asked to write my own.
Then I saw this obituary: '... Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and Friend. Doug enjoyed life to the fullest and was enjoying a game of golf with close friends when his heart failed.' He was 80 years old. Can anything be better than this?

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