Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cancel My Subscription

Here in Hometown, people sometimes "take out an ad" in the local newspaper to celebrate a birthday ("Oh my wordy, Look who's 30!" or "Lordy, Lordy! Bubba's 40!") or to announce a baby's arrival (who needs to send frilly-froo-froo cards on fancy paper when newsprint works just as well and you don't have to buy stamps). These usually appear on page 3 right next to the obituaries. In a town who's population is smaller than the enrollment of the university I attended, this is just one more way we make sure everyone knows everyone else's business. We're fun that way.
But the thing that I just do.not.understand is when people put an "ad" in the paper for a deceased loved one on their birthday or perhaps the anniversary of their passing. Sometimes its in the form of a letter: Dear Momma, We will never forget you. Love, Your Children. Sometimes its a poem about the day you became an angel or you may be gone, but your memory lives on. Now, please don't think I'm insensitive to the heartbreaking loss of a loved one. Its just that...honestly, do these people think "Momma" is actually reading the Hometown Herald? Do they believe that all our loved ones meet for coffee at the Dairy Queen in the Sky and say things like, "Did you see the lovely sentiment Pearl's family put in the paper?" or "My children wrote the sweetest poem about me spending Christmas with Jesus this year!"? I just don't believe that's the way Heaven works. Like my friend Bart says, "I'd like to think my [loved one] has more to do than sit around and peek through the clouds at me all day...like worship the Living God." So here is my admonition to my family: Say what you want to say to me while I'm here on earth. And when I'm gone, you can cancel my subscription to the Hometown Herald. I won't be reading it anymore.

7 comments:

Kandice said...

I totally agree with you. I understand that it does act as a source of comfort to some to do those things. If we do as you suggest and say those things to our loved ones while they are still here with us then we can take comfort in knowing that our loved ones know that we loved and cared for them.

jen phifer said...

what? you don't think the deceased read the herald banner? i thought EVERYONE read the herald banner. ha.
(i always thought those were kind of weird too.)

kris said...

I know you can cancel your subscription right after you read your name in the obituaries. You might think about canceling if you see your name in the police blotter; I bet you can read it for free in jail. I mention this not because I expect to visit you in jail but because I know you check these two columns religionsly.

BPOTW said...

Well said! I've never thought about the oddity of those types of ads, but you're right :)

My dad and step-mom live in a very small town and their newspaper runs way more than births, deaths, and anniversaries. Each town in the area has a spokesperson who dishes the news of each community. "Billy's goat died this week. If you see him down at Charlie's Barber Shop give him an extra hug." I'm serious, it's stuff like that. I rolled on the floor the first time I read it!

Thanks for submitting again!

Michelle said...

Our paper does that, too... and some of them are for people who died DECADES ago. But I think that's a way of grieving for them. Some people go put flowers on graves, some go volunteer at or donate to an organization their loved one cared about, some write public remembrances? But I'm more private than that. WAY more private.

Braja said...

Y'know, attachment: what can you do. Interesting to hear my own thoughts echoed :)
Caught you at BOTW...

Ronnica said...

Good post. But I think what people are looking for is closure, hope. Yes, there IS hope, but it is not in somehow being able to send some message to their dead loved ones. It's all in Jesus Christ.