Friday, May 04, 2007

Death notices

My first newspaper job was writing obituaries. This was about as ghoulish and weird an undertaking (no pun intended) as you might expect. What always struck me was how odd, and unfair, it seemed to try and encapsulate someone's entire life in a couple of paragraphs.

Death notices, which are even shorter versions of obits provided for people scanning the newspaper to find out when and where a funeral will be held, are even more stark. How much information lies behind these tiny fragments of a person's life.

Through the wonders of the Intertubes, even the very elderly who never touched a computer in their lives, such as my late Aunt Angie, can be immortalized online forever through their death notices in local papers.

DiMARZO, Angelina "Angie" (nee Seminerio) age 84, of Clifton died Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at St. Mary's Hospital, Passaic. Born in Paterson, she lived there before moving to Clifton forty-five years ago.
What this doesn't tell you is how she looked in the photos from her youth, posing in a leopard-print bikini next to her weight-lifter husband. How, with her broad smile and her cascading curls, she was a dead ringer for Rita Hayworth. How she loved her only child, her son. How she was often so frightened, pursued by fears, real and imaginary.

I hope you've found peace where you are now, Angie.

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