Leave Me Out of the Obituaries and Facebook

15 Nov

For the past week my morning routine has been disrupted. I usually wake up to an alarm at 6:00 am each morning. It’s not a pleasant sounding alarm but it gets me out of bed.

Last week when Daylight Savings Time ended I somehow changed my alarm settings on my radio and I now wake up to a local radio station. It’s a change but I’m not sure for the better.

Each morning this past week when I woke up to the radio station it has been a depressing way to start the day. At 6:00 am on this particular station they read the obituary notices for the deaths that occurred since yesterday and the upcoming funeral arrangements in our area.

I suppose I’m looking at this all wrong. I shouldn’t be depressed because I am here living on this earth another day. Starting the day with the obituaries just isn’t the way I would choose to begin my day. Maybe tonight before I crawl into bed I will remember to reset my clock to wake to the alarm instead of the radio.

As I lay in bed listening to the obituaries being read I keep a mental tally of the ages of all those who have died and quickly average the ages by the number of those who have died. I breathe a brief sigh of relief as I calculate that I am younger than the average age of all those who have died recently. There is always hope for a few more good years, that should be a positive thought but there is a negative thought lurking in the back of my mind at the same time.

After I process the average ages in my mind contented briefly I then move on to my next train of thought which is how many years do I have until I reach the average age? There are not nearly enough years between now and then to carry out all that I had hoped to before I die.

Some people choose to read the obituaries in the paper each day and others discuss them over lunch at work. In our small town we used to know when someone died without reading the obituaries by just driving past the funeral home. If the outside light was on then someone had died and the conversations would start with “Who died?” or “Who is in the funeral home?” or “I saw so and so’s car at the funeral home so it must be someone related to them”.

Most families around here now opt to have the wake at the church instead of the funeral home the evening before the funeral so then the conversation switches to “What’s going on at the church?”, “I wonder if someone died?” I live in a small town of 400 so a death in the community is usually someone I know, some more than others. Hearing about the death of a family member or friend over the radio seems so impersonal.

I’d love to leave instructions for my funeral that my death not be announced over the radio like the local sports scores from the night before but passed by word of mouth among friends and family and definitely not as a Facebook status. Status:Dead …. How cold!


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19 responses to “Leave Me Out of the Obituaries and Facebook

  1. Carl D'Agostino

    November 15, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I have never heard of such a thing. Must be an awfully small town. A 2 stop light town.

    • flyinggma

      November 15, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Sorry to disappoint Carl, We have no stoplights 🙂 very small indeed.

  2. CMSmith

    November 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Well, there’s no getting out of it. We’re all going to die. It’s more about making good use of this day.

    • flyinggma

      November 15, 2011 at 7:41 am

      You are so right. I like your take on the day and using it well.

  3. Todd Pack

    November 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I’m from a small town, and I worked at the (only) local radio station in high school. When you’re on the radio, you follow a to-do list called a log. Top of the hour, play CBS news. Six minutes past, local headlines and weather. The first time I worked the Saturday morning shift, I didn’t read the obituaries because it wasn’t on the log. Soon as I finished the news and started playing a record, the phones lit up with all these old people calling to complain because I hadn’t read the obituaries. (Apparently, the regular Saturday morning guy read the obits as part of the newscast.) I pictured all these old people sitting next to the radio waiting for the obituaries so they could update their phone books. “Charlie died? That’s a shame. I’ll cross him out….”

    • flyinggma

      November 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      Too funny Todd. I know people the very first thing they do is read the obituaries.

      I imagine you upset the apple cart by not reading the obits for sure. A change in routine is difficult for many to get past.

  4. nrhatch

    November 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

    My advice:

    1. Change the station on your clock radio.
    2. Change the station on your morbid thoughts. 😉

    Between now and when you reach the “average age” . . . the “average age” may have increased.

    • flyinggma

      November 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Been there done that. Last night before bed I changed the station to a more upbeat station with no obituaries. My morbid thoughts only started after days of waking up to the obituaries. Not going there again for sure. Positive thoughts rule:)

  5. Patti

    November 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I snickered at the facebook status remark. I have a few friends who have died who still have facebook pages. I kind of like seeing them show up in the information that streams by each day. Kind of like a hello.

    But yeah, I think I would either change the station on the radio, or go back to the alarm.

    • flyinggma

      November 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      I don’t do “Facebook”. At first it was because my kids said I couldn’t or shouldn’t then I decided that I just didn’t have enough time nor did I need to know what everyone was doing every moment of the day or what I was doing all the time.

      I changed the station last evening before I went to bed 🙂

  6. Thomas Stazyk

    November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Good idea to change the station. I don’t like waking up to the news either–just not what you want to hear first thing in the morning.

    • flyinggma

      November 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      I agree about not wanting to wake up to the news either. It really sets the tone for the day and not necessarily in a good way.

  7. pearlsandprose

    November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    That is a really small town! Have never heard obituaries on the radio before, and wouldn’t want to. My mother grew up in a small town too (pop: 800) and the first thing she did every day was to read the obits.

    I only know one person on Facebook who’s died, and people are still putting up comments like “really missing you today.” It’s kind of nice, like a permanent guestbook.

    Glad to hear you changed the station!

    • flyinggma

      November 16, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      It is a small town for sure. I just don’t see the attraction in reading the obituaries. I suppose the comments on Facebook help in some way for those left behind. A memorial of sorts.

  8. tedgriffith

    November 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Glad to hear you changed the station, Jeanne! There is always enough bad news during the day without starting it by listening to a “death list”. I think they should start the day with birth anouncements and things like Paul Harvey’s anniversary lists. Focus on something good to start with and the day seems to flow easier! (I don’t do Facebook either! 🙂 )

    • flyinggma

      November 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm

      Happy to hear I am not alone in not doing Facebook. I much prefer to spend my time reading or taking pictures. I do like starting my day on a positive note.

  9. pattisj

    November 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    I grew up in a small town, though bigger than yours. We had two local radio stations, and one had the most annoying guy for the morning wake-up show. He had one of those horns like little kids would have on a trike or their first bike; and a wake-up song that got on my last nerve! lol Talk about starting the day in a rotten mood. The other station wasn’t much better, but it beat the Big Ben alarm clock that was so loud. No wonder I’m not a morning person!

    • flyinggma

      November 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      We had a very obnoxious radio station in the town where I attended college. Every once in a while I hear their morning song and just groan. It was not a pleasant way to wake up each morning.

    • flyinggma

      November 17, 2011 at 8:21 pm

      We had a very obnoxious radio station in the town where I attended college. Every once in a while I hear their morning song and just groan. It was not a pleasant way to wake up each morning.


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