A Pocket of Resistance: Obituary and Stuff

i don’t think about dying a lot: got too many other things to think about. But i suspect anyone within a couple of years of my age has thought about dying. So yesterday, i decided to write something about how i think about it in the hope folks i know might think a little bit more constructive about what they would want when it happens.

obituary and stuff

getting ‘bout that time
to contemplate what
my obituary should read,

written them before :
some technique for setting goals,
getting in tune with myself,
something like that

maybe i just have faced the fact
i’m gonna die
sooner than later
compared to the rest of my living time
quite frankly, i don’t know what to say
it doesn’t matter
someone is gonna take my ashes in an urn
back to Lebanon, Tennessee,
back to Wilson County Memorial Gardens
put me in the ground
in the plot next to my mother and daddy
where they only allow headstones to read
name, birthdate, death,
which i guess is just fine,
someone is gonna go newsworthy on me
the funeral home will want an obit
the newspapers will want one
quite frankly, i don’t want one
it is part of the world in which we live
then die nobly, or at least that’s what the obit will say
i have written before about what my father said at eighty-seven,
it’s now true for me:

 son, i’ve had a good life;
(i would add “with a few hiccups, of course”)
i’ve got a good wife;
all my children are good children;
my grandkids are great;
now, all i really want
is to go quick.

he was a wise man
now i know what he meant
even if it’s about fifteen years earlier
than when he spoke this wisdom
another ten before he went quick.

so what should this obituary say:

James Rye (jim) Jewell, Jr. died the other day, (age tbd) at (someplace) where he wanted to be with his wife, daughters, and grandson by his side. He went quick. He had a full life, loved a lot, hated very little, had a good time, and always tried to do the right thing, sometimes failing in that, and was proud to have all of the family and friends he had. He did a lot of things and never got to the top of any of them because he went off and started doing something else before he got to the top. He loved to write and he loved being at sea. He was too trusting with a belief in the good nature of folks to really ever fit in this world of distrust. Still he loved to watch people live and never held a grudge although some people made him sad. Now, he is coming back home. And this time, he will stay.

Yeh, that’s what i would like the obit to say;
it won’t, of course;
it will be too late for me to care:
the grave marker next to my mother and daddy’s
will be enough,
quite enough.


1 thought on “A Pocket of Resistance: Obituary and Stuff

  1. Great essay Jim and what a wonderful exercise to think that through. We should each do that though if you will be as honest and well done as this. Thank you!

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