~ There’s a lot to be learned about life, by studying death.
Yeah, yeah, OK. I do read the obituary section in the newspaper occasionally, maybe once a week, maybe more often. It’s not just about “dead people”, it’s more about life, what the “little” people did, those that you (meaning maybe me) never read about or heard about before.
It’s a shame when someone dies and more words are written about them then, than maybe they ever wrote about themselves in their entire life. Sure, people should write more letters, more stories, or maybe they should blog (before it’s over); like they should leave a record (of life) before someone else writes a paragraph or two about their death.
In today’s Albuquerque Journal there are 32 “announcements” regarding “Deaths & Funerals”. It’s not exactly Obituaries.com, of which the Journal is not even a part; it (the Journal) is apart from the pack, the mainstream, the stream of life and what’s really going on. Albuquerque metro is a population of 1 million, and we only have reports of 32 of the dead. Simple math would indicate that it would take 85 years for everyone now living in Albuquerque to die. The real (national average for life) figure is 77.9 (call it 78) years so the obituaries figure is not really wrong. But then, 7 of the 32 have no date of birth or death or are just remembrances of those who died in the past, often years ago, and not this day at all.
Crunch that number and it looks like a 27% “unreported deaths”, which sounds about right to me knowing the journal and the shortage of money now – no money for even a simple obituary when you die. However, for some, it is a privacy thing; a private life and an even more private parting.
Irene MacPherson, “Mama Mac”, lived to be a hundred, a 101 years actually, and a few months, and a few extra days. She of course is evidence for the “fact” that “we” are all living longer, are healthier, are happier now. The paper indicates that she had a long and happy life, there were cookies, no grandchildren though. She loved to travel.
There are of course the usual crop of 80 year old’s (7), and one person who lived to be 90. And Mr. Frank Otero who died at 79. 36% of those who died “out-lived” life, meaning the statistical due date to die. I guess they were glad to do that, by the obituaries we will never really know, life itself can be “such sweet sorrow“.
64% of the people never reached the target date, the national average of life. They died young or younger, maybe not in the flower of their youth, but certainly not in old age. Four of these people died in their sixties, one at 72. They were old enough to get some Social Security (if they tried to get it at 62) – I guess that that is some solace, much money in, a little, a few dimes and dollars back out. The $255 that Social Security pays for an obituary and funeral certainly might help. The costs of dying are so high right now.
10 people, 40% of the deaths, died between the ages of 20 and 57, actually only three of these people were in their 50’s. 28% of the dead were between 20 and 48, not one of these were in their thirties. So what does this say about our new quality of life? What is it that allows or encourages so many to die so young, in the age groups born after 1942 or so, in the war torn “endless war” toxic generations?
I’m so happy that government bureaucrats can crunch the numbers and come up with all their statistical averages and data. It seems so reassuring, that they know what is in control, and the forces that are in control. The reality is that not one person born since 1942 has lived to be even a simple 70, meaning 70 years of age. What happens next is pure speculation, looking back, not forward, assuming that the lives of the Silent Generation and the GI Generation and those before are anything like the lives of the rest of the people living now.
Start with the issue of obesity, the level of artificial chemicals in the (lifetime) food, the toxins in the air, the infant exposure to radioactivity (both fallout and x-rays for starters, the radiation from TV stations and high tension wires and the ubiquitous presence of radio and the navigation radars at the airports and seaports. Radar did not even exist until 1940, and now it is everywhere, even cooks much of America’s food. Seems obvious, from birth in the age of the bomb (and radar), there is a new radioactive generation that is living on this earth. For “how long” is what we do not know.
So yes, I plan to keep on reading the daily paper, the obituaries from time to time, maybe Obituaries.com when the paper dies. It’s good to ask these questions, to question what others write, what people read, what the sequestered “experts” say. It’s good to get a local angle on things, to do ones own research, see what things look like from real facts and not just statistical speculation.
Sure; one paper, one issue, just one day. My whole world does not revolve around the post above or the conclusions contained therein. But life itself is just a combination of days, the one following another. Miss a day, miss one death when a man (or a homeless man) dies violently in a river, and your statistics will start getting skewed, distorted, contorted. It’s better to pay attention, than not to know.
[“Obituaries” Post originally written on March 31, 2011 @ 21:25 ZLT / GMT / Zulu / UTC]