In getting my mother’s obituary to my parents’ college, the college sent me a copy of their magazine that ran my father’s obituary. I asked them for this specifically, knowing that my mom and my dad’s first wife had collaborated on dad’s obit. I never saw it before this week when the magazine arrived. The obit was less than two column inches, and in that small amount of space there were inaccuracies.

The next thing I did was dive into the online interface for my mom’s email, looking for the correspondence between her and dad’s first wife. The only email I could find was from after the obit was published. In it mom exclaims how she wishes she’d asked for dad’s first wife’s help with the obit, because she (my mom) certainly Did Not send the inaccurate information that the college published. Sigh.

When the ladies were working on the obit, in 2015, there were dozens of printed copies of their correspondence all over mom’s office. The same correspondence/email printed again and again. I was pissed and sad after laying eyes on this summation of my father’s life for the first time, to find that after all of their back and forth, my mom, a poet, editor and author, could only gather up two column inches of half-assed information about her life-partner of more than 50-years. Yes, I knew some years ago that there were errors, but what I didn’t know is that errors made up so much of what had been written.

It is l-o-n-g past time obits were published in actual newspapers. I will be rewriting my father’s obituary through a much clearer lens.

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